The Village of Hythe Municipal office (Erica Fisher, MyGrandePrairieNow.com staff)
The Village of Hythe will officially dissolve as a standalone municipality and transition into a hamlet on July 1st. The dissolving of the Village of Hythe was made official following an order in council approved by the provincial government on Wednesday.
The village requested a viability review from the province in April 2020, revealing it is struggling with financial challenges and can’t cover its rising operational costs and infrastructure needs. When the vote took place in March 2021, 95 per cent of residents voted in favour of joining the County of Grande Prairie as a hamlet.
County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says there is a lot of work left to be done between regional staff as they try to make the transition as seamless as possible.
“Our staff and administration has been working in the background since the vote was passed, and there is a lot of work that had to be done, looking at what the liabilities of the village are, and what assets need to be transferred.”
Before the viability vote, Hythe Mayor Brian Petersen said an audit found a $14.2 million infrastructure deficit requirement over the next 10 years. An additional backlog of infrastructure repairs also totalled $8.5 million for projects between 2031 and 2040.
“We do receive a transition grant from the province, and that does help some offset some of the costs,” Beaupre explains, “and there is also a bit of funding that’s available to address some immediate infrastructure needs.”
Beaupre says another important role for the county is making sure they’re present to hear and ease the concerns of residents. She says while the transition becomes official at the start of next month, they know the work will continue well into the foreseeable future. She adds they will also be working closely with current members of Hythe village council to make sure no pressing needs may fall through the cracks.
“Some of us [on] council know the area quite well because we grew up in that area, but others on council may not be as aware as to what Hythe has to offer. We’ve accepted the invitation by the present council to go out and spend the day with them,” she adds.
Beaupre says councillors will be waiting for public health restrictions to lift prior to taking part in the in-person tour.