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Caution needed on proposed governance boards in updated MGA: Stier

Municipalities deserve a better explanation from the NDP government about new mandatory ‘growth management boards’ that will be included in a new Municipal Government Act (MGA) presented next spring, Wildrose Shadow Municipal Affairs Minister Pat Stier said today.

As part of today’s announcement committing to a timeline for a new MGA before the next municipal elections in 2017, Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous announced new growth management boards from the metropolitan regions of Edmonton and Calgary.

It was only through a tweet later released by Bilous that it was revealed these new boards include mandatory membership.

“We’ll have to wait until we see the full details in the legislation, but there are serious red flags presented in today’s proposal by the government,” Stier said. “A complete lack of clarity about membership, how these boards will be governed and a seeming lack of consultation with the municipalities impacted makes it look like we’re off to a bad start.”

Stier warned the government to avoid pitfalls made by the previous government on Bill 28, the Modernizing Governance Act. At the time, the legislation proposed stripping municipal council of local autonomy for growth management boards, with the threat of huge fines or jail time for not complying.

“Municipalities directly impacted by this decision need to be fully consulted, and the government needs to ensure their views, their powers and local autonomy are protected,” Stier said. “Regional collaboration and cooperation is important but should not be imposed, especially without consultation.”