2014 was another busy year for MLA Everett McDonald and his riding of Grande Prairie – Smoky.
The opening of the twinned highway at the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation was just one highlight, along with repaving the frost heaves on Highway 43 between Bezanson and Grande Prairie.
Both those projects, along with three new schools and further construction at the new hospital has McDonald arguing that the province is taking note of the growth in our community.
However, he says 2015 will be about maintaining that growth.
“Especially with the drop in oil prices, and trying to make sure that we can protect the vulnerable; that nobody falls through the cracks. I think that’s going to be critical as we move forward, to make sure that we’re opening the schools and we are delivering on the things that we’ve promised.”
McDonald also predicts a focus shift back towards agriculture, with a need for programs that provide for succession planning and getting younger farmers more involved in cattle and grain production.
Having grown up on a farm, McDonald explains farming is a culture, and the province needs to remind residents of the importance of agriculture.
“The average age of our farmer is now almost 60 years old, so we need to make sure that we’re planning for the future and we’re making it easier for those young fellows to come to the farm.”
A new premier for the province was also chosen last year, and McDonald believes Jim Prentice understand the pressures our growing economy is under.