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Since early 2019, MD Council and staff have been working on a Provincial Government directive that was intended to compensate neighboring municipalities for services they provide to MD residents. For the most part, these services are recreational in nature (swimming pool, ice arena, parks etc.) but can also include cultural and community support services. The MD has consistently in the past paid for these services from our neighbors through negotiated settlements. With the introduction of the Provincial directive, we were forced into reopening negotiations with all the municipalities that border the MD of Peace. The negotiations and subsequent agreements went very well with all our neighbors with the exception of the Town of Peace River. Over the past 2 ½ years, we have been negotiating with the Town to come up with an equitable agreement. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to terms with the Town and were forced into arbitration with them. After a lengthy process, the arbitrator’s decision was announced on November 12. Although the arbitration award was significantly less than what the Town was asking for, it was also significantly more than we have been paying in the past. The MD must pay a % of annual net expenditures and some capital life cycle costs for these areas in the Town: spray park, playing fields, trails, ski hill, pool, multiplex arena, rec admin, museum, Athabasca Hall, FCSS, parks and playgrounds and the amount to be paid will vary each year. The Town’s ask and the arbitrator’s award estimate shown here are based on 2019 expenses:
- 2021 funding amount paid by the MD $ 80,000
- Peace River’s final ask $743,000
- Arbitrator’s award $386,000
As you can see, these are serious numbers that greatly affect the MD’s bottom line. Because of this, additional financial pressures will be incurred by the MD. I want all the residents of the MD to know that we are working very hard to mitigate the impacts of this situation. I encourage any resident who has concerns about this to reach out to any of the councilors or myself:
Bob Willing 780-625-7867 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra Eastman 780-618-3808 email@example.com
Ken Herlinveaux 780-617-4256 firstname.lastname@example.org
Theresa Johnson 780-618-1502 email@example.com
Lori Kinnee 780-597-2296 firstname.lastname@example.org
As per Covid-19 guidelines, you will be required to wear a mask when entering the MD office. Stay safe and healthy.