Leduc County and the City of Leduc have re-committed themselves to working collaboratively for the combined betterment of the Leduc Region Prosperity Area, as members of both councils signed a charter to that effect July 11.
The Leduc Region Prosperity Charter focuses on 12 key initiatives: Leduc Nisku Economic Development Association, recreation cost sharing, partnership for airport revenue sharing and service provision, Joint Sustainable Growth Study, Alberta Aerotropolis, Joint Inter-municipal Development Plan, Joint Infrastructure Master Plan and Service Evaluation, Joint Public Transit Agreement, Leduc Regional Fire Services Implementation Plan, Joint Development Initiative, Alternate Municipal Structure Project and Joint Development Adjacent to Edmonton International Airport.
Leduc County mayor John Whaley says the prosperity charter and the county and city’s history of collaboration have brought about positive change for the Leduc Region, as well as long-term sustainability.
“So today we’re taking action as regional leaders by furthering our commitment to collectively shared future growth,” said Whaley.
City of Leduc mayor Greg Krischke says having the two municipalities work so closely together has created a strong backbone for the region, making it a competitive player in provincial, national and global markets.
“We know that one community alone does not hold the key to regional success. It can only be achieved through courageous regional leadership,” said Whaley. “This road we’ve travelled hasn’t always been smooth,” he added.
The Government of Alberta is placing a growing importance on regional collaboration and the Leduc Region Prosperity Charter is similar to another document that could have a large impact of the future of the county.
The Metro Mayor’s Alliance, which Whaley is a member of, late last year asked for advice on how to remain competitive in a global market. The result was the The Advisory Panel on Metro Edmonton’s Future’s report “Be Ready, Or Be Left Behind.”
Vice-chair of the panel Carman McNary was also present during the charter signing to speak to the importance of collaboration in a globalized economy and congratulate the city and county of Leduc for their leadership and history of success with the concept.
“We were told be bold, don’t feel inhibited by history,” said McNary.
The report focuses on three main topics deemed most important for a collaborative, growing region: economic development, public transit, land use and infrastructure development.
McNary says the Edmonton Metro Region, containing the Leduc Region Prosperity Region, has potential in a global market with the proper growth channels but has not reached its full potential. “But we can’t do it if we’re not collaborating our efforts.”
“As metro mayors, we believed it was incumbent on us to work together to get ahead of the issues we face as a metropolitan region in an increasingly competitive world. Leduc County is confident that collaboration will only benefit the region,” said Whaley in an interview with the Pipestone Flyer.
A more in-depth presentation of the report was given during Leduc County council’s meeting, July 12.
Panelist Tim Reid says questions tackled by the panel included can the Edmonton Metro Region be a global competitor, what would that look like, what is required, and what needs to be done differently?
“What we did realize is the ability to fall behind the growth of other cities is very, very easy,” said Reid.
The report itself finished with three recommendations: affirm the Metro Mayors Alliance by developing and signing a Memorandum of Understanding that spells out a commitment to plan, decide and act as one Edmonton Metro Region; formalize the commitment to think, plan and act as an Edmonton Metro Region through a legally binding Master Agreement; and Consistent with the signed Master Agreement, establish the structures needed to create the three key cornerstones of a globally competitive Edmonton Metro Region.
Reid told council the Edmonton Metro Region is not about aligning municipalities with the needs of the city. He stressed each community needs to keep its own identity because that is where the strength of the region lays. However, the region does need to align systematically. “We have to to look at a shared investment for a shared benefit.”
In what needs to change from the current situation panelist Reg Milley says annexation needs to be examined. “Annexation should no longer be the primary tool to expand municipalities.”
Milley added the preservation and selective boundaries for agricultural land also needs to be achieved.
Following the presentation council approved three motions: Leduc County will participate in negotiations with the Metro Mayer’s Alliance regarding the Edmonton Metro Region’s future; the mayor and county manager will act as the county’s agents in negotiations; and the county directs administration to obtain legal advice as necessary.