Grande Cache residents are learning more about an upcoming vote on the town’s future. The provincial Department of Municipal Affairs will be hosting three public information sessions on its viability review on September 18th and 19th at the Grande Cache Recreation Centre. Info packages have also been mailed out.
Minister of Municipal Affairs Shaye Anderson recently approved an expedited viability review, which is used by municipalities to determine whether changes are needed to keep them functioning. Town council has already voted unanimously in favour of dissolving the town and becoming a hamlet of the Municipal District of Greenview.
The review was first requested in 2016, and an infrastructure audit report done last year found the town needs more than $80 million worth of repairs, upgrades, and new construction. It already does not have the funds to cover 75 per cent of its ongoing operational and capital costs, as it is still struggling to recover from the economic downturn and the closure of the Grande Cache Coal Mine.
The town will only become a hamlet if the move is supported by residents. If they choose to remain a town, staff say taxes and recreation user fees could increase, services like snow removal would be reduced, and community groups will likely not get funding.
The info sessions will run in the curling rink from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the 18th, and 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the 19th. An advance vote will then be held that evening at the Métis Nations Centre from 4 to 8 p.m.
The main vote will be held at the Métis Nations Centre from 4 to 8 p.m. on September 24th and 12 to 8 p.m. on the 25th. Residents will need to show proof of ID and address.