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City council candidate questions: City/County relationship

In the days leading up to the municipal election on October 16, we will be publishing the answers to questions posed by 2day FM to the candidates running in the City of Grande Prairie. The responses are listed in alphabetical order by position and are unedited. They have not been fact checked and 2day FM is not responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

Q: What sort of relationship would you like to see the city have with the county? How can that be achieved?


Dick Baillie

A: The building of any successful association begins with cooperation and collaboration. There is absolutely no reason that there is not currently more coordination between the city and county. I keep hearing things like “never going to happen” and “it’s always been like that” from people in both regions and that is a big problem for me and our city. It is one of my goals to overcome this defeating mentality and successfully build a working
relationship that creates a sense of community for our entire region.

Bill Given

A: I would like to see our region evolve to a point where all the municipalities (not just the City and County) are active partners in delivering the services, programs and facilities that our residents and businesses expect.

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Today, in may respects we are direct competitors, for grants, property tax revenue and development. This situation doesn’t arise out of animosity between the players, it’s the natural outcome of a system of local government that is stuck in the past.

In the past rural meant rural and urban meant urban, but that’s not the case today. It’s increasingly difficult to tell the difference between City and County and many residents and businesses cross these invisible lines to get to work or school, or to go for a coffee or an event.

To address this we will need changes some provincial systems that are stuck in the past such as the police funding framework and all parties will need to sit down at the table an begin working in the interests of the citizens of this region rather than in defence of their municipality. The upcoming negotiations to develop Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks offer us an opportunity to reset these relationships and make some big leaps in delivering services to the region in a more effective and equitable manner.

Theodore Nikiforuk

A: Revenue sharing & close collaberative relationship with county officials that benifits both city & county residents.

Rony Pajput



Clyde Blackburn

A: I look forward to working with county councillors on the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework over the next couple of years. We have working agreements now and I believe that more ways to share resources and services are possible.

Dylan Bressey

A: Regional Collaboration is THE issue facing our next Council. The province is giving us two years to sign a series of agreements with the County. These will include service delivery and cost sharing in a variety of areas. This is an exciting opportunity to work closer as a region. It is also a huge threat. If negotiations fail, forced mediation will be expensive and distracting while souring working relationships.

We must approach negotiations with a regional focus. Of course City Council needs to stand up for its residents. But our people will be best served if our region thrives. The City and County need to focus on growing the entire pie rather than making sure they get the biggest piece. Respective Councils must approach talks with a sense of trust. Mutual collaboration is essential. We need strong negotiators creatively looking for win-win solutions. Without this, talks are bound to fail.

A big reason I am running is because I have a valuable perspective to these negotiations. I am a new voice, which means I am ready to look to future opportunities rather than past conflict. I have training and experience in conflict management and consensus building. I am capable of bold assertiveness but at the same time I am a proven collaborator. I also have the energy and work ethic to give these negotiations the effort they deserve.

To learn more about upcoming changes and how I would address them, see

Jackie Clayton

A: We need to continue to work hard on the Inter-Municipal collaboration framework with our regional partners, and support initiatives such as the Tri-Municipal Industrial Development project in which I had the opportunity to represent Council this term. These are both essential pieces going forward. We also need to continue to advocate for our needs and our region at the provincial and federal government level; we need our concerns to be heard.

Through my professional career, City Council and working with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and GPRC, I have been able to heighten my exposure, political experience, connectivity with all levels of government, and potential future collaborators. I am confident that if re-elected I will be able to continue to open new lines of communication that will strengthen our relationship with the surrounding municipalities, the County of Grande
Prairie, and Provincial and Federal government.

John Croken

A: The relationship I would like to see is more cooperation and sharing of revenue and services they are developing bedroom facilities around grande prairie without really having and superstructures e g shopping centres medical centres . The city businesses do appreciate them coming in and buying our goods,cheering on our hockey team.Many other examples of co operation.

Shannon Dunfield

A: The Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework is something I want to learn more about. However, I understand, at a base level that building and strengthening relationships provides perspectives and context to help move our municipalities forward. As leaders in our community we need to model the way for the benefit of our community and region.

Sydney Fletcher

A: For many years, the infighting between the city and the county has bothered me! There is an old saying that goes something like this: “A house divided cannot stand”. Without cooperation, necessary decisions cannot be made. I think it is time for both councils to suit action to words and REALLY PUT THE WELFARE OF THE TAXPAYERS FIRST! Cooperation helps EVERYONE. Arguing helps NO ONE!!

Eunice Friesen

A: Since we all live, work, or play outside our boundaries, it is in the best interest of us all for our municipalities to work together for the good of the region. The updated Municipal Government Act will set some requirements that will be a helpful framework moving forward, but it’s only the beginning. I will work to cultivate open communication and good faith with our neighbours because wiithout the foundation of trust, no partnership can be successful in the long-term. While we each have our own interests to look after, we need to be respectful of how our decisions impact each other.

One item that will be on the table for the new council is the proposed centre for performing arts. This is a prime example of a project that will have regional implications, and to move forward on it without regional collaboration to establish sound capital and operational plans would be a misstep for our city and our region.

The Peace Country is a region rich with unique assets. We enjoy abundant natural resources, fertile farmland, lush forests, and some of the most innovative and tenacious pioneers in the world. Our municipalities each have unique and vital advantages that we all count on. Our best future is one where we work together for the good of all.

John Kriska

A: In order to promote relationship with the county we need to be effective communicators, encourage collaboration and negotiate win-win scenarios where are parties benefit. We need to maintain a regional focus while ensuring that costs are kept low.

Kevin McLean

A: We have a good relationship now with the local county councillors. Our families all cross the county/city line. The issue is with the provincial funding model.

Yad Minhas

A: We must have a good working relationship with the County as well as the ID & MD. Key areas of working together would be law enforcement, bylaw and fire departments. This would be beneficial to all from a cost perspective as well making the area a safer place to live. This can be achieved by not just being worried about our back yard and getting over turf protection.

Cheryl Montgomery

A: I would like to see a collaborative, cooperative and strong relationship. One where negotiation occurs quickly, fairly and respectfully. I would like to see trust restored that allows all parties to know that we have each others back as a region and will work for each other for the best results of us both. Working together will show outside / foreign investors that doing business here will be efficient and beneficial to us all.

Timothy Nesbitt

A: I am cautiously optimistic about working collaboratively with the other municipalities in our region. It is an opportunity to start fresh and create something positive with our neighbors. A lot of our needs are very similar and we can accomplish some pretty great things if we are treating one another with respect. I believe that if the City is open, transparent and willing to be collaborative Grande Prairie and area will be able to respond to issues far more appropriately and timely to issues as they arise. We must be careful not to go to the table expecting or demanding additional support or backing from our neighbors though. Our “fresh start” could be squandered easily if we aren’t willing to be supportive as well. Any candidates who believe we are owed something from nearby municipalities could cost us a lot more in business and service exchange in the long run.

Kevin O’Toole

A: We have many partnerships and joint programs already and I am good with that. The need for Inter – collaboration Framework as demanded by the province Inter -municipal Development Plan will need to be revisited (Not been updated since the annexation )as demanded by the province

Wade Pilat

A: First I think we MUST stop any negative internal communication. I know I am personally tired about hearing how it’s not fair that the County and MD have revenue and expense advantages. They are following the same Municipal Government Act that the City is so let’s stop complaining about the cards we have been dealt and concentrate our efforts on being productive with what we are dealing with. The next step would be to get to know our neighbors in the County and MD and start forming long term relationships. I have learnt over many years of self-employment that you cannot be successful without being a part of a team. It is important that the first meeting our new Council has with the County and MD is one that focuses what the areas in which we can learn from them and grow and that the areas in which we can share our successes with them. Being part of a team means collaborating ideas towards success and the bigger the team the more success ideas there are to learn from. I would like to expand on this to include a variety of relevant private industry representatives and local user groups that could share long term experience to avoid mistakes that others have already learned from. Ironically most of my campaign contributions came from people that live in the County. The same people that own properties and businesses in the City but can’t vote in the municipal election. I think it’s safe to say almost everybody thinks levels of regionalization make sense and need to happen. Once we have established a working relationship then I think the dialogue can begin about what areas make most sense to start talking about regionalizing first. I honestly believe that all parties here want what’s best for our region. If you review the County of Grande Prairies 2017 budget highlights on page 6 they have “Thinking Regional” as their number 1 strategic plan.

Tyla Savard

A: I think a relationship of collaboration is completely achievable, it would need to be one of understanding, common goal setting and focus of how we can achieve set goals together to better our community. We need to keep in mind the betterment of opportunities and impact on community members. We are all trying to achieve the same goals just with different strategies, if we work together we can maximize on the success.

Morgan Suurd

A: At the moment I see it as going to be a long journey get a nice relationship back with the county

Now that being said I believe with hard work it can be achieved.

Chris Thiessen

A: An open, harmonious, respectful, reciprocating, and co-creative relationship that is mindful of the needs, issues, and challenges facing the other. This can be achieved by being as stated in the first sentence.

Cam White

A: The county and other municipalities of the north need to start to viewed as friends and allies rather than competition. Together we can accomplish things for all our communities if we focus on common goals and interests.

This will happen with meetings and conversations between the people Grande Prairie and its neighbours. Proper communication and time. We need to confront any wounds from past interactions and move forward towards success with a common interest of strengthening the northern economy and quality of life.

Mike Wolfel

No response submitted.

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