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HomeNewsProvince earmarks $436K for Peace country economic development

Province earmarks $436K for Peace country economic development

Several Peace country communities have gotten another cash injection from the province’s Community and Regional Economic Support program. In total, more than $436,000 is going to 10 communities who applied for the CARES funding last fall.

By far, the largest amount is going to the Tri-Municipal Industrial Partnership, which has previously received $247,000 from the provincial government. This time, $282,000 will help the City and County of Grande Prairie and the Municipal District of Greenview do more planning and land studies, Indigenous consultation, and put a land use plan in place.

MD of Greenview Reeve Dale Gervais says the main goal is to have a space ready for investment, so development could be cut down to as little as two years. He says they’ve had multiple international companies want to build in that location, but changed their minds.

“When they got checking into it and found out that it was a three to four year delay before they could put a shovel in the ground, by the time they did the environmental assessment, the Aboriginal consultations and all the other stuff, they moved on.

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Plans for the industrial park south of Grande Prairie were first laid out in December 2016. Gervais says the draft Area Structure Plan is done and the partnership is in the second phase of consultations.

Energy minister and Dunvegan – Central Peace – Notley MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd made the funding announcement on behalf of Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous Tuesday in Grande Prairie. She says it’s been exciting to see the industrial park move forward from just an idea.

“I see huge potential. I remember hearing the vision a few years ago of wanting to create something in the north like the Heartland near Edmonton, and why not? We’ve got all the resources here, we have the technology, we have the people.”

The next largest amount is going to the Town of Peace River, which will use the $31,900 matching grant to work on an economic development strategy. Meanwhile, the MD of Spirit River will use $25,000 to look into developing a pulse processing facility.

“We have people interested in doing a protein pulse plant which doesn’t use a lot of water, but you’ve got to have rail,” says councillor Elaine Garrow. “We’ve got rail and that is huge for the farming area, and it’s jobs.”

Another $25,000 will go to Saddle Hills County for a feasibility study on a nitrogren fertilizer manufacturing facility, and $25,000 more to the Town of Falher to work on a business case for an industrial hemp decortication facility.

Receiving $10,000 each are the Village of Berwyn to find ways to repurpose the Autumn Lodge, Northern Sunrise County to identify potential retail, light commercial, and hospitality opportunities, and the Village of Nampa for a local economic development plan. The Town of Sexsmith is getting $9,500 for a similar blueprint for growth and sustainability, and $8,000 is going to the Village of Rycroft to look into attracting businesses.

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