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City ready to move into Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework mediation with County

Grande Prairie city councillors have suggested they’re ready to take the next step in the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework process between the City and County of Grande Prairie.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic response at all levels of government, in-person mediation with the County was unable to progress. However, Mayor Bill Given says the province has been informed that the city is ready to try to punch out the details.

“The motion [passed Monday] was essentially city council saying, ‘we think it’s important for us to get this resolved as soon as practical, and we are ready to move forward as soon as the COVID-19 situation allows us.”

He adds that the pandemic response has also allowed for an extended deadline for both sides to get the ICF completed. He says since face-to-face mediation is no longer a possibility due to social distancing measures, city council continues to act in good faith when it comes to negotiations.

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“The most recent change from the provincial government… they have extended a number of deadlines that municipalities were facing, and that included the deadline for municipalities to complete an ICF by April 1st.”

“The intention is to have the full process [of] mediation, and ultimately, if it was required, arbitration done, so would we could complete the process by March 31st of next year at the latest.”

An Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework is meant to help two sets of municipal governments more efficiently share information when it comes to projects that impact both geographical territories and is required between two municipalities that share a border as part of the Municipal Government Act.

County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the city and the county jointly made the decision to proceed with engaging mediation services as this service is available and recommended by Municipal Affairs to assist municipalities in negotiations.

“Since the ICF deadline is now extended to April 2021, the time should be sufficient to complete the ICF process. With the assistance of professional mediators, we are confident the municipalities will find amicable solutions where possible. We view this as a positive step,” she adds.

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