WHEREAS the 2007-2010 strategic plan of the AAMDC identifies the organization’s values to include “member-directed”, “accountable”, and “transparent”; and
WHEREAS member input into the lobbying activities is currently limited to the resolution sessions during the semi-annual conventions; and
WHEREAS once a resolution is adopted by the membership, the membership is isolated from all correspondence relating to resolutions; and
WHEREAS the AAMDC unilaterally decides whether the response to a resolution is satisfactory; and
WHEREAS municipalities sponsoring a resolution have a vested interest in the matter to which a resolution is intended to address;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties be required to keep sponsoring municipalities involved in the advocacy relating to their resolution by copying the sponsoring municipality on all correspondence and replies thereto.
The Canada Transportation Act (CTA) sets out the process that a rail company must follow to formally transfer or discontinue a rail line. This process includes: a three year plan; advertisement; expression of interest and negotiation; offer to governments and; notice of discontinuance and compensation. Another operating interest may acquire the line for rail service or the line can be offered for sale to any interested party. The railway company must offer to transfer its interests in a scheduled discontinued rail line simultaneously to the federal, provincial or municipal governments through whose territory the rail line passes for no more than net salvage value of the line.
Most of the rail lines were constructed in the early years to reach communities scattered across the nation and, given the lack of settlement, the lines were usually the shortest distance between two locations. Given the population and settlement growth to-day, it would be impossible to re-construct such a continuous corridor. To lose these rail corridors would be detrimental; to have the vision to utilize them for future servicing would be beneficial for future generations.
The merits of retaining a discontinued line as a continuous corridor are numerous; the corridor can be used for conveying regional services such as water lines and utility services or, the corridor could be utilized as a transportation corridor.
Since a discontinued rail line usually crosses more than one municipality it is crucial that all involved municipalities along with the provincial government work together, through consultation and partnership, to explore options to retain the discontinued rail line as a continuous corridor for future regional uses.
“The AAMDC has no current resolutions directly related to this issue. The AAMDC has a strong relationship with the GOA and continues to positively influence policy decisions. The AAMDC Board, as your representatives, appreciates the confidence the membership shows in its ability to develop and implement an advocacy strategy covering the breadth of issues within the membership. The task, although not an easy one, requires great consideration, timing and the continued support of membership as we work toward the benefit of rural municipalities. While all resolutions are advocated, the AAMDC Board has a responsibility to put greater advocacy resources to issues (resolution-based or emergent) that: – are timely – affect the majority of the membership – can result in an impact because of current government direction – can result in an impact because of close alignment with a Minister’s mandate – can result in an impact in the long term because the issue will come to the forefront . Some issues take time to get legs within the government and the AAMDC is very happy to have strong resolutions to rely on as our members’ position when they forward. Sometimes a “win” is a long time in coming. Following each convention, resolutions are sent to Municipal Affairs identifying from which ministries or agencies (i.e. ERCB, AEMA) a response is warranted. Municipal Affairs then coordinates the responses. When the responses are received, the AAMDC Board collectively reviews them and decides on the appropriate status. The Advocacy Report Card is then issued. It provides an update on all active resolutions (currently 117) as well as outlines the responses received from the government of Alberta to the most recent resolutions. As well, the report card provides updates on emerging issues that the AAMDC might not have resolutions for—this includes things like the Land-use Framework, the Ambulance Transition, and the upcoming Law Enforcement Review. The Advocacy Report Card further endeavours to detail what follow up will be undertaken i.e. follow up through formal minister meetings, further correspondence, etc. Subsequent developments are thus reported in the next Report Card. This document comes out twice a year and is available on the website. Coordinating this reporting makes the best use of the AAMDC’s resources and ensures members are kept in the loop through streamlined communication avenues. The most recent Report Card was released in October 2008 with another one expected in April 2009. Members are encouraged to assist advocacy efforts by bringing issues forward to your MLA and in any ministerial meetings you may have. “
Beginning in Spring 2009, sponsoring municpalties of active resolutions are copied on correspondence related to their resolutions. The AAMDC continues to publish the Advocacy Report Card twice per year in order to update all members on the status of resolutions. These two initiatives are accepted as meeting the intent of this resolution.