Supporting intermunicipal Collaboration in Rural Alberta
Recent legislation in Alberta has mandated that municipalities must collaborate and work together to provide services and plan land-use. These services include transportation, water and wastewater, solid waste, emergency services and recreation.
While the general principle of collaboration is strongly supported by the RMA and Alberta’s rural municipalities, the cost to develop and implement these collaboration agreements, known as Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICFs) and Intermunicipal Development Plans (IDPs), will be borne by the municipalities involved. Some rural municipalities have up to 20 agreements to negotiate with their neighbours before April 2020. This will put a considerable strain on their capacity and resources, and may lead to agreements being rushed and completed without adequate discussion.
Why is this important to Albertans?
Albertans expect municipalities to efficiently with their tax dollars and that is why municipalities work together to provide services in partnership with their regional neighbours. When municipalities can work together, they can achieve economies of scale that would otherwise be impossible. This reduces costs to the municipalities and their residents, and can improve service delivery; rural municipalities face considerable financial and fiscal challenges in negotiating as many as 20 complex agreements with municipalities within and on their boundaries.
What can the Alberta government do to support rural Alberta on this issue?
Alberta’s rural municipalities and the RMA seek the support from the Government of Alberta to ensure that collaboration between neighbouring municipalities can be undertaken in a way that does not strain municipal resources or capacity, and strengthens existing relationships between municipalities.