The Miistakis Institute, with support from the RMA and other key stakeholders, has developed the Least Conflict Lands: Municipal Decision Support Tool for Siting Renewable Energy
Alberta is investing in renewables as a key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many land use impacts can be addressed through proper siting and avoidance of areas important to ecology, agriculture, or culture and scenic resources. A key lesson from other jurisdictions supporting renewable energy development is the importance of siting renewable energy development to reduce impacts to other land uses.
RMA looks forward to the opportunity to work with a new government and a new Cabinet to support strong, vibrant rural communities. A new cohort of ministers and MLAs will provide a great opportunity to share information about what matters to Alberta’s rural municipalities, and what it takes to ensure that rural communities are sustainable in the future. This includes advocating for community services, sustainable municipal funding, and supporting the industries that power Alberta’s economy.
RMA will also continue our work with all MLAs and all political parties to inform and advocate on topics important to rural Albertans. RMA appreciates the efforts of the Alberta NDP over the past four years, and in particular the work of Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson in supporting municipalities of all types.
RMA will be working hard in the coming weeks to educate new and returning MLAs on the importance of rural Alberta and the role of RMA in building a strong province. With the election over, our work is just beginning, and our goal continues to be to make sure provincial decision-makers understand that rural Alberta is Where it All Starts!
For a full summary of election results, click here.
Rural roads and bridges serve as important arteries to help Alberta’s economy grow by connecting natural resources to national and international transportation corridors. This critical infrastructure provides the oil, gas, forestry, and agriculture industries with access to the natural resources that they depend on. A safe and viable rural road and bridge network is key to supporting the provincial economy.
RMA members manage approximately 75% of Alberta’s roads and 60% of Alberta’s bridges. As a result, transportation and infrastructure are often the largest budget item for rural municipalities.
The RMA has developed a series of election resources and a video specific to rural municipal infrastructure challenges which can be viewed here.
Why is this important to Albertans?
Rural Alberta drives Alberta’s economy. Without these critical transportation links, Alberta’s natural resources would be unable to reach key processing facilities and markets throughout Alberta, Canada, and beyond. These linkages are key to economic growth and development, as well as the functions that enable the high quality of life and standards of living that Albertans enjoy.
The value of these key linkages can be measured by the fact that 41% of Alberta’s public and private investment, and 26% of Alberta’s GDP is in rural Alberta despite having only 18% of Alberta’s population.
What can the Alberta government do to support rural Alberta on this issue?
To keep the Alberta economy running, governments must understand the important role of rural Alberta’s infrastructure and transportation network. They must also understand the financial burden this places on rural municipalities who, without funding from other levels of government, may be unable to continue to build or maintain this network to the standard required to accommodate Albertans and the industrial usage. For this reason, the Government of Alberta must support a long-term and predictable funding program to ensure the sustainability and viability of rural Alberta’s communities, and allow Alberta’s natural resources to drive Alberta’s economy forward.
Learn more about the RMA’s Where It All Starts Campaign here.
Check it out for a quick overview of where each major party stands on municipal and rural issues
As part of the “Where it All Starts” election strategy, RMA has developed a Party Platform Guide providing an overview of the key rural and municipal priorities identified by each of Alberta’s major political parties prior to next week’s election. The purpose of the guide is to allow members to quickly scan each party’s position on issues most relevant to municipalities, rural economic development, rural communities, and environment and land use.
All positions summarized in the document are taken from the party’s official website platforms. For information on issues not covered in the guide, please visit the party websites directly.
The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC), in partnership with Alberta Innovates (AI), is looking for Alberta municipalities to provide sustainable solutions that move towards low carbon community-scale electricity generation.
The Challenge will see the development of a new renewable electricity generation project(s) which produces a significant community benefit in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions, diversification of the local economy and whose data and knowledge can then be transferred to other municipalities within the province.
MCCAC is investing up to $7 million and AI is investing up to $3 million for a possible total of $10 million in funding for one or multiple projects.
Coordinated advocacy is needed to advance municipal perspectives.
The RMA recognizes that responsible resource development is essential for the future of municipalities across Alberta. To accommodate coordinated advocacy, the formation of the Resource Communities of Canada Coalition (RCCC) has been supported by the RMA in partnership with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and other provincial municipal associations including the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). Through the RCCC this group of provincial municipal associations is liaising industry experts, trade groups, and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce to share information to strengthen understanding and support clear advocacy.
The goal is a coordinated Canadian municipal voice to ensure that municipal perspectives are being heard on issues impacting resource development.
The RCCC is currently focusing on three major activities:
Education campaign at the FCM Conference in Quebec City
The FCM Board of Directors at their March Board meeting recently adopted a resolution, Federal Support for Energy Infrastructure Projects, which calls on the Government of Canada to support the further development of nation-building energy infrastructure projects. This resolution was submitted and sponsored by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, RMA, and AUMA. It was amended in the debate to obtain a cross Canada approval at the meeting by representatives from all provinces and territories. We are pleased that is now FCM policy and is the starting point for our FCM activities and education campaign. By facilitating this resolution and the dialogue and negotiations that incurred around it we understand the common ground we have across Canada on Energy Infrastructure and what we need to do to have Canada wide support for our energy future.
Next up is the FCM Conference in Quebec City, May 30 -June 2. We know RMA members want to be engaged at the 2019 FCM Conference, bringing the municipal voice forward on the importance of resource development projects. The RCCC is working on an education campaign to support engagement at the FCM Conference and will share information for member involvement as soon as it is available. The RCCC is meeting April 12 and we plan on providing information shortly after.
Bill C-69 Advocacy
Municipal associations across Canada have been actively advocating regarding the impacts of Bill C-69. The RCCC has facilitated a coordinated approach for testifying at the Senate Committee hearings by sharing messaging and key information with sister associations and those presenting at the hearings here in Alberta.
Formal establishment of the RCCC
Having started out informally the RCCC is in the process of formalizing the group.
Consolidated and Consistent Advocacy
To support strategic and consistent advocacy, the RCCC is focused on a collaborative and consolidated effort between municipal associations and our municipal members to strengthen the municipal voice. The RMA is aware that other municipally-focused groups are also initiating advocacy campaigns focused on Bill C-69; however, RMA would like to emphasize that the RCCC is an initiative that your association is engaging in on your behalf. The RCCC will not request financial support from individual municipalities to do this work.
The RMA recognizes that members are eager to learn more about opportunities for involvement in the RCCC. We will share information as it becomes available and encourage members to continue to share local advocacy efforts related to responsible resource development with us to maintain consistent advocacy on this important issue. The RCCC is meeting April 12 and we plan on providing information shortly after.