Local Journalism Initiative
A recent decision by the RM of Buckland to withdraw from a regional economic partnership will not hinder the two municipalities from working together, says Mayor Greg Dionne of the City of Prince Albert.
“Of course you always want all of your neighbours involved in a regional economic authority,” said Dionne. “Unfortunately you sometimes just can’t meet everyone’s expectation. I’m not upset with their decision and it won’t affect us in the way that we will continue to work with our partners in the RM.”
Dionne said the City does its best to work with the surrounding RMs. That includes things like advocating for wood supply for mills that are located in the RM.
“We also are working with some of the RM tenants, their constituents, to expand their business and have more employment,” he said. “That benefits us because the more jobs we can bring to the community, even if its in the RM, benefits us because its economic development.”
Good jobs mean people can buy good homes and will shop in the city for things like fuel and groceries.
“It is an economic benefit and we will continue to work on those partnerships,” said Dionne. “It doesn’t do anything to our relations. Politics is a funny business.”
The RM council voted unanimously Dec. 13 to withdraw from the Prince Albert Regional Economic Development Alliance.
“We felt we just can’t trust the City. They’ve let us down too many times in the past. We don’t see any future going ahead with them,” said Reeve Don Fyrk.
The six councillors on the RM council have been considering withdrawing from the alliance for about a year.
“Some of the things have happened between the City and the RM over the past few years just helped cement our decision,” said Fyrk.
He does not see the decision impacting the RM’s future overly much when it comes to economic development there.
“We’ve got lots to do on our own. We’re not hurting. We don’t need the city,” Fyrk said.
The RM might reconsider in the future, he said, after an election.
“In five or 10 years hopefully there’s different councillors and they might take another look at it,” Fyrk said.
From the City’s perspective, PAREDA will continue along with their own efforts at growing the local economy.
“It has an impact because they’re not at the table but as I said, we’ll continue to work with our partners because we have no big industrial land bases available. If we can help somebody locate there, we’re certainly going to do that,” said Dionne. “I’m all in when it comes to economic development.”
Other partners in PAREDA include the RM of Prince Albert, the Town of Shellbrook, the Peter Ballantyne Development Corporation and the Muskoday First Nation.