WHEREAS the Alberta Farm Water Program was announced on short notice with a June 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002 window to complete proposed grant eligible activities;AND WHEREAS Alberta Agriculture, Food & Rural Development did not have application forms or adequately trained staff available at the date the program was announced;AND WHEREAS many organizations (producers, municipalities, wildlife and habitat agencies) had already set their annual budgets and activities for the year and are not able to utilize or complement the program;AND WHEREAS changes to relax some of the eligibility requirements several months into the program caused some projects to be withdrawn prematurely;AND WHEREAS many contractors capable of performing some of the eligible activities are overly busy and are not available to perform the work prior to the program deadline;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to extend the deadline for the Alberta Farm Water Grant Program for at least a period of one year.
The Alberta Farm Water Program was only announced on June 1, 2001. The original grant application forms were not even available until approximately 10 days later. The temporarily hired support staff (water technicians) were not fully familiar with the program until approximately a month into the program. The program was changed significantly in late August making it more liberal in the criteria for acceptable projects. These changes have not been well advertised, if at all, through agriculture news avenues (i.e. Western Producer, etc.). Some producers had abandoned some initial ineligible projects that would now be eligible. Many entities (producers, municipalities, wildlife and habitat agencies) had already set their annual budgets and activities for the year and are not able to undertake, or be involved in the undertaking of, the projects in the 2001 calendar year. The only opportunity they would have to take advantage of the eligible program activities would be between January 1, 2001 and the March 31, 2001 program deadline. Unfortunately, many eligible activities such as fencing/post pounding, water pipelining, etc. cannot realistically be performed during this period. Interviews with some producers have indicated that many water well drillers are backlogged and getting the water development works installed within the program deadlines would be difficult, if not impossible. Most producers are only familiar with the pre-approval method for grant eligible projects as is done with PFRA. Until they’ve actually received a cheque from the program they are paranoid that their project may not meet the eligibility requirements and then they would be stuck with the full ‘tab’.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this matter.