WHEREAS Section 59 of the Municipal Government Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta 2000 Chapter M-26, provides for the designation of hamlets by a municipal district or specialized municipality;AND WHEREAS Alberta Municipal Affairs recognizes such designation of hamlets;AND WHEREAS Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation will not recognize any new hamlets under their grant programs but will recognize growth in an urban centre or existing hamlet;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) approach the Government of Alberta to alter the policy of Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation and recognize new hamlets for grant purposes.
Presently Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation provides a per-capita grant for urban centres and existing hamlets. This grant grows as the population increases in these centres. However, if a new hamlet is created Alberta Municipal Affairs will recognize the designation, but Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation will not. For example, if the Town of Okotoks annexes land and places 650 homes on the land, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation increases their total per-capita grant by the increased population. If the M.D. of Foothills allows the creation of a new hamlet of 550 homes, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation will not recognize it, but if we added it to an existing hamlet they would. Secondly, although Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation will fund the upgrade and expansion of water and/or sewer facilities to accommodate growth in urban and recognized hamlets, they will not recognize any new hamlets such as Priddis Greens which have existed since 1988.It has been argued that because there are only limited funds, the addition of new hamlets would place an additional burden on the program, but growth in urban centres and existing hamlets already places an increased demand on the program. The province has grown rapidly and new hamlets are a viable housing alternative and should be given the same consideration as any other housing development.
The AAMDC has one resolution currently in effect that is similar to the resolution above. Resolution 26-03F, endorsed at the fall 2003 convention, urges the provincial government to amend transportation grant program guidelines to increase the parcel size to at least 2,500 square metres required to designate a community as a hamlet in order that these small, long-term communities have the opportunity to qualify for the funding they require to upgrade and maintain their utilities, streets, and road infrastructure.The AAMDC Rural Transportation Grant Review Committee, established in accordance with Resolution 27-04F, will consider a number of issues surrounding transportation grants provided by the provincial government. The committee will be holding an issue forum at the spring 2005 convention to gather member input.
The provincial government has continued to decline requests to change the guidelines for hamlet designation under Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation funding programs. The AAMDC will continue to advocate for this resolution during its continued meetings with AIT.