Both the City and County of Grande Prairie are optimistic on a third party arbitrator to finalize the long, three-year discussion over the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework negotiations.
Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says both the county and the city are working to find a jointly approved arbitrator by May 14th. The third-party arbitration will be a binding agreement between the city and county and will include input from both sides.
“The city and the county are going to present our cases to an arbitrator to get a solution,” she adds.
Clayton says both the city and the county could not agree on what the regional sharing of municipal costs. However, the specifics of the hold-up remain confidential.
“Through facilitated, mediated sessions over the last few years, we simply weren’t able to reach an agreement within the specific timeline,” she adds.
County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre says there was a significant amount of effort from both parties to reach an agreement in the last six weeks.
“Unfortunately, there were some items that were left outstanding and those were large enough that we couldn’t come to a consensus on it,” she adds.
Beaupre says she believes it’s a load off the shoulders for both negotiation teams during this long journey.
Clayton says she believes the arbitrator “is the best decision to continue a good, working relationship, as we both focus on serving our constituents and the region.”
The original deadline for both the City and County of Grande Prairie to come to a consensus was March 2021, after struggling to reach an agreement, both parties were given a one-month extension.
ICF’s document what and how services are delivered with municipalities that share a common boundary. The Municipal Government Act was set out in 2019, which requires municipalities to share a common boundary with an ICF.