Listen Live
HomeNewsGrande Cache looking at becoming hamlet

Grande Cache looking at becoming hamlet

The Town of Grande Cache could be turned into a hamlet. Grande Cache first received Town status in 1983, but officials say the municipality is no longer sustainable and would better be served by the MD of Greenview.

The town and municipal district have been working on a request for a viability review since 2016, and are now asking the Minister of Municipal Affairs to expedite the process. Grande Cache CAO Denise Thompson says the decision boils down to money.

“We actually had an infrastructure audit report done last year that cites over $80 million worth of infrastructure that needs to be either repaired, upgraded, or built from the ground up. We can’t fund that; there’s just no possibility to do that.”

Thompson adds that the town already doesn’t have enough funds for its operating costs. It was hit hard by the economic downturn when it was already reeling from the closure of the Grande Cache Coal Mine.

- Advertisement -

“The assessments have dropped dramatically due to oil and gas and the mine closing, and it takes time for that to come back up. The ability for the town to grow is impeded as we are surrounded by Green Zone,” Thompson explains, referring to land within the MD of Greenview that is held by the province.

A viability review is a tool that municipalities can use to determine whether changes are needed to keep them functioning. Thompson says the process has been delayed by recent elections, but Minister Shaye Anderson has agreed to give the town and the MD the resources needed to move it to public engagement and a vote.

“It may be strange to say but we’re really excited to be able to show the public here’s the information and here’s the solution,” says Thompson. “I think we’d be a little more worried if we had to show them the deficits of all these infrastructure projects at us without a solution.”

If residents vote for their town to be dissolved, and the provincial government approves, it’s proposed the current council and two town representatives would govern it until the 2021 municipal election. Thompson would be guaranteed to lose her job as CAO, but says it would be worth it if it helps solves the town’s problems.

“It will just give us the stability and the financial wherewithal regionally to repair some of the deficits in infrastructure and just to help that community thrive for once; they’ve always been in survival mode.”

Town council has voted unanimously to pursue dissolution and has been supported by the MD of Greenview in seeking hamlet status. Their joint report to the provincial government is due August 17th, and it’s hoped things can get moving in time for a public vote to be held in early fall 2018.

Grande Cache had 3,571 residents as of the 2016 federal census.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading