Grande Prairie MLA and Minister of Municipal affairs Tracy Allard shares her initial discussions with municipal leaders across Alberta have yielded what she feels is a positive first step in the right direction. Since her appointment to a seat in the ministry, Allard says she wanted to take a step back from the oil and gas assessment model review currently on the table and talk to municipalities for their two-cents about the review.
“My first priority as minister was to take a pause on that review and to take the opportunity to go around the province, speak with local elected leaders across Alberta, and hearing their perspectives,” she says.
“I’m invested in getting this decision right and it has to be a balance between the viability of municipalities and the viability of the industry; and I think we’re going to strike that balance, but I wanted to make sure we were listening before we made any decisions.”
The oil and gas assessment model review, when it was proposed by the provincial government was intended to “modernize” the assessment model for industry properties and enhance competitiveness. This proposal received no small amount of backlash from rural municipalities which stood to lose millions of dollars of industry tax revenue.
Notably, no municipal leaders were involved in the review before public notice of the province’s finalized recommended changes. Allard is now on a quest to fix that.
“I’m looking forward to working with municipal leaders to open up economies, create jobs, and [create positive] local results going forward.”
Allard adds the gist of what she is hearing from municipal leaders thus far is they wish to have their concerns heard by the provincial government and to maintain a more communicative relationship going forward.