In her first address since becoming Reeve, Leanne Beaupre went over the successes and challenges being felt in the County of Grande Prairie. The State of the County Address was held at the Entrec Centre and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce over lunch Tuesday.
Innovation with its new public web map online as well as Pipestone Creek solar panels and similar solar energy at the Clairmont Waste Transfer Station were highlighted in her list of successes. Beaupre explains that when it comes to things like solar panels, the County is responsive to any innovative ideas.
“Any type of alternative power they are willing to try or trying to give it a pilot project, within reason, County will evaluate it on a case by case basis and look at funding it.”
A spotlight was also put on investments that are ongoing including the two softball fields at the Crosslink County Sportsplex, libraries around the region and the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. The County is also investing in the Wapiti Dunes Trail.
“Actually, there is already about 7 kilometres of trail in the County of Grande Prairie. It is just straight south of Highway 668. There is a staging area set there and it actually goes down into the Dunes area, makes a loop back and the second stage will build on that.”
The trail will eventually connect with the city and MD of Greenview trails.
Safety is something that is always at top of mind for people of Grande Prairie and the surrounding area which was also highlighted during the speech. The County has invested half a million dollars in the fire hall in Sexsmith, firefighter training, and the regional pound to help the area after the SPCA closed its doors. Beaupre explains that this region has an integrated model when it comes to enforcement officers that the province is looking to implement all across Alberta.
“It looks at providing peace officer services and bylaw services but we also have a rural component for RCMP members. The County of Grande Prairie has invested in five enhanced RCMP members. These members are dedicated to the concerns of what the county has.”
She added that regional cooperation is something they will continue to use and mentioned some of the reasons the County Council is against amalgamation. She says they will have the ability to work as each individual council as well as together. She also pointed out that even if they joined together with other governments, it would not reduce costs.
The last State of the County Address was held in 2012.