Wetaskiwin’s government speaks up at chamber luncheon June 7

MP, MLA and reeve speak at By The Lake Park

Representatives of Wetaskiwin’s three levels of government spoke at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 7 at By The Lake Park.

Edmonton Wetaskiwin MP Mike Lake, Maskwacis Wetaskiwin MLA Rick Wilson and County of Wetaskiwin Reeve Terry Van de Kraats all took turns briefing the attendees on what they’ve been up to lately.

Mike Lake, MP

Lake stated he has been busy with a number of different jobs from covering for other MPs to working as Critic on Youth. Lake said many of his peers ask for his help because he is known as a specialist on communication and networking.

The MP noted he recently travelled to Poland for a climate conference.

As well, Lake said he regularly hosts round-table sessions in the riding, which is very large geographically. He said the top four topics in the round-table sessions include how to get rid of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pipelines, rural crime and immigration.

Rick Wilson, MLA

Wilson, named Minister of Indigenous Relations by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, said he got the premier’s offer via phone call on a Sunday night.

Wilson noted being an MLA and minister creates a very hectic schedule, and he added the premier has a lot of work he wants to do in Alberta. “Our premier is on a mission,” said Wilson.

The minister said a major project that has come to his department is the report on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and Premier Kenney has already told Wilson this is an important issue for the ministry, and will actually include four ministries in all.

The minister noted the provincial government will meet with every First Nations chief across Alberta. As well, the provincial government is excited about the new Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.

Other work the provincial government is working on includes red tape reduction, children’s health, minimum wage and tax reduction, among others.

Wilson pointed out the UCP campaigned on eliminating the provincial carbon tax introduced by the previous NDP government, and that’s been completed. “As our premier has said, promise made, promise kept,” said Wilson.

The MLA gave an update on the $40 million renovation to Wetaskiwin’s Reynolds Alberta Museum. He said the project is moving ahead.

Wilson said the new provincial government is already creating an exciting atmosphere in the province. “I think we can restore faith in the future,” said Wilson.

Terry Van de Kraats, reeve

Van de Kraats opened by stating the county had recently passed the 2019 budget with an overall tax rate increase of only 1.5 per cent. He also noted the county will use a mill rate to cover firefighting costs, so residents who suffer the misfortune of a fire they had no control over will no longer receive a firefighting bill from the municipality. Most of the budget involves the Public Works department he added.

Major items in the budget include road construction, gravelling and road paving. Major 2019 projects include work on Battle Lake Trail Twp Rd 454 and roadwork connected to the new G3 grain terminal. Van de Kraats said the farming community is excited about the new grain terminal south of the city and has been told the facility is on-track to operate by the end of 2019.

The reeve said the county has been coping with the energy industry slump in the form of deceased linear assessment the past three years.

Van de Kraats said FCSS programming continues to be very popular, including entertainment-based bus trips. Plus, he pointed out the county has a new Facebook page which, when combined with the county website, is a great way to stay informed about county projects.

He noted the county has paid for a crime analyst to work at the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment and will pay for a new police officer at the Breton detachment.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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