News Releases

Village of Forestburg

BREOC Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee Press Release


Good news for the Flagstaff Region and neighbouring municipalities!

The Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee (a unique collaborative partnership consisting of Flagstaff County, the County of Paintearth, the Towns of Castor and Coronation, and the Villages of Forestburg, Halkirk and Heisler) will receive $1.75 million from the the Coal Community Transition Fund (CCTF) stream of the Alberta Government's Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) Program.

The funding supports ongoing efforts to develop a long-term strategic plan to not only mitigate the potential socio-economic impacts of a coal phase-out but also to develop new avenues for the region to turn its many key assets into economic opportunities, ensuring its economic viability for generations to come.

View the Government of Alberta news release at: http://bit.ly/2FOz1Bl.


March 9, 2018

Resilience in the face of adversity

Rural Alberta municipalities working together     to reimagine region’s future without coal

Hard-working residents of the rural communities surrounding ATCO’s Battle River Generating Station and the associated Westmoreland Mine have long depended on these facilities for economic sustainability.

Both are major employers and key drivers of the regional economy and contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of local citizens and enterprises.

Their potential closures – along with the phase-out of any future thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plants – will undoubtedly have a debilitating impact on the rural communities along this part of the meandering Battle River in east-central Alberta.

However, this is hardly the first economic challenge that this area has faced. Fortunately, residents in this area are known for their resilience and steadfast optimism in the face of adversity. Following in that tradition, seven neighbouring municipalities have banded together to find solutions – and ultimately, opportunities to thrive – at this latest economic crossroads.

The seven municipalities that have formed a unique collaborative partnership are the County of Paintearth, Flagstaff County, the Towns of Castor and Coronation, and the Villages of Forestburg, Halkirk and Heisler. Together they comprise the Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee (BREOC).

With the consulting services of Urban Systems Ltd., BREOC has been working on a long-term strategic plan to not only mitigate the potential socio-economic impacts of a coal phase-out but also to develop new avenues for the region to turn its many key assets into economic opportunities, ensuring its economic viability for generations to come.

As one of the initial steps in the creation of a regional multi-pronged strategy, BREOC has submitted its proposal for the Coal Community Transition Fund (CCTF) stream of the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) Program. BREOC now optimistically anticipates the Government of Alberta’s approval of the CCTF grant application.

In the meantime, the committee continues to work collaboratively toward identifying and facilitating economic development opportunities within our region.

The long-term strategy, which is expected to require a significant proactive effort, consists of a combination of strategic interventions broadly encompassing staffing, technology/innovation; knowledge management; technical and financial assistance; leveraging; and coaching/consulting. These proposed strategies are broadly categorized into the following three elements and are designed to leverage complementary organizations and programming:

  1. Capacity building;
  2. Impact mitigation;
  3. Development opportunity realization.

During this difficult transition, BREOC recognizes that support will be required from the provincial and federal governments. But, more importantly, the committee also recognizes that this time of transition represents a significant opportunity to forge new ventures and infuse unprecedented viability into the affected communities with the type of resilience, collaboration and action in which these very communities were created. BREOC is looking to the future. And the future is now.

For more information, contact your local municipality.

 


Coal Worker Transition Support Program updates

Your government has the backs of coal workers and we will stand with you throughout this transition to ensure workers land on their feet. We are committed to ensuring coal workers get the supports they need for themselves and their families.

The coal-worker support webpage has been updated with new information.

What’s new?

  • Application forms for bridge to retirement, bridge to re-employment and for relocation assistance are now available. Click here for details.

 

  • Program guidelines and eligibility criteria for the Coal and Electricity Transition Tuition Voucher have now been posted. Click here for details.

 

  • Workers who were continuously employed for at least one year and have received a layoff notice effective Jan 2, 2018 or later can now apply for all coal worker supports.

 

Get more information

Please visit www.alberta.ca/coal-workers  to review and download the eligibility requirements, application guidelines and application forms prior to submitting your application.

This webpage is your key source of information on government supports for affected coal workers. Please check the webpage regularly for the most up-to-date information.

 

Regional Governance Model Progressing

 Posted by Our Communities  On October 6, 2017  http://www.flagstaffunited.ca/regional-governance-model-progressing/

-Region residents to be asked to provide feedback when details completed-

October 6, 2017 – For Immediate Release

Progress is being made on developing the details of what a single-tier regional municipality would look like. Results are anticipated to be presented for public feedback in Spring, 2018.

“Regional governance is a complex and emotional subject, and we know that the top of mind question you have is: how would this be better than what we have now?” said Bob Coutts, FIP (Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership) Chair. “We have been working over the summer months on the details you have asked us for so that you can consider this question with as much information as possible.”

Municipal Chief Administrative Officers from each community gathered over the summer months to collaborate on determining what a services structure would look like. This is the most complex part of the governance model because not all communities in the region have all the same services and/or service levels, some new desired services were identified in a community survey in 2016, and both range of services and levels of those services are directly related to taxation and economic development that positions for the future. This work also involves presenting some options for residents to consider.

Governance model details are being generated in four areas:

• Governance: Developing a governance model (boundaries/divisions) to ensure citizens are properly represented by elected officials.

• Services: Establishing uniform service choices and service levels for the region.

• Taxation and Debt: Balancing service levels with taxation levels while positioning to be attractive to investment and new families in future.

• Identity: Ensuring each community retains its unique identity under a new regional context.

After the municipal election on October 16, 2017 the following process related to the regional governance initiative will be undertaken:

• November, 2017 – orientation session for newly-elected officials. Get their feedback and/or approval of the regional governance initiative to continue.

• Spring, 2018 – Public input session(s) to present proposed regional government model details.

• FIP considers any amendments based on public feedback.

• Final Regional Governance Plan is publicized.

• Individual Councils decide how they want to proceed by making a regional governance decision (i.e. a yes or no to amalgamation).

• If there is a decision to proceed with regional governance, submit amalgamation application to Minister of Municipal Affairs. Note: A decision to amalgamate is voluntary. An application to the Minister may involve some or all of the FIP municipalities.

To arrive at this phase of the regional governance initiative, FIP has completed significant research, including the following:

1) Evaluation of regional governance models in Canada

2) A regional services survey

3) Infrastructure assessment

4) Four public open houses

5) Municipal report card of current municipal operations

Informed by this research, FIP member communities unanimously voted to pursue development of the details of a proposed single tier governance model – from a number of potential governance models considered – as a best means to position region communities for the future.

FIP is comprised of representatives from all municipalities within the Flagstaff Region: the Towns of Daysland, Hardisty, Killam and Sedgewick, the Villages of Alliance, Forestburg, Heisler and Lougheed, and Flagstaff County. More information on the FIP Regional Governance Initiative can be found at www.flagstaffunited.ca

For more information, contact:

Bob Coutts

Chair, Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership

Email: couttshardware@persona.ca Phone: 780-679-4721

 

Written by Our Communities


July 27, 2017

Progress Update – Economic Opportunities and Transition Study

 

The Economic Opportunities Taskforce (Counties of Paintearth and Flagstaff, Villages of Forestburg and Halkirk, and the Towns of Coronation and Castor) have retained the consulting services of Urban Systems Ltd. to undertake a review and analysis of the social and economic impacts expected to accrue from the potential closures of the Battle River Generating Station and Paintearth Mine, identify economic opportunities the region can realistically capitalize on and to provide high-level steps to successful transition.

A series of initial town hall meetings and one on one interviews were held in Forestburg and Castor during the week of May 15 -18.  A second series of one-on-one interviews and focus group interviews were held in Forestburg and Castor during the week of Jul 17-21.  This second series of interviews focused on Regional economic assets and transition opportunities. There were many things learned from both sessions.  The Economic Opportunities Taskforce extends a sincere thank you to everyone that participated in these sessions. As an important part of the exercise and to fully appreciate whether the identified assets are indeed competitive or comparative, there must be an appreciation of the external business climate and market conditions. Based on the assets that make the region unique and marketable, Urban Systems is working with external economic development agencies to ensure there is the proper alignment with regional assets and external activities to ensure viable economical opportunities are identified.

NEXT STEPS

What are the next steps that the Economic Opportunities Taskforce will be undertaking:

 

  1. SURVEY – The survey has been a great success and a welcome source of well thought-out contributions.  As a result, the closing date of the on-line survey has been extended to the End of August. The on-line survey can be found at:
  2.  
  3. Urban Systems has completed the community visits portion of the study and will continue working with external economic development agencies to further explore opportunities for the region to capitalize on.
  4. Urban Systems will facilitate a workshop with the Task force in mid September that will allow a review of the report as well as work on strategies and tactics on how best use the impact information and identify high-level regional actions that the Task Force and the communities can employ immediately.
  5. The Task Force is presently developing a strategy that ensures use of the information collected and economic opportunities identified will be provided to the local citizens, businesses, community organizations and the Government of Alberta.

The Taskforce has set and stayed true to the guiding principle that the asset mapping and economic

opportunities report is a community document and is the property of the region’s citizens

For any questions, please contact your respective municipality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

welcome to the Village of Forestburg