Representatives from the Grande Prairie city council will join representatives from other Alberta municipalities this week in Edmonton for the annual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Convention and Trade Fair.
One of the first orders of business at the convention was to change AUMA’s name to Alberta Municipalities, including a complete rebrand of its website and logo.
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association [now Alberta Municipalities] it’s like elected leaders and administrators lobbying the government, ”said Chris Thiessen, deputy mayor and city councilman for Grande Prairie.
This year’s in-person convention is designed to help Alberta municipalities connect with each other and to educate, inform and unify delegates around certain political positions.
“These conferences are great and very important to all elected officials because they give us the opportunity to network with other municipalities,” said Theissen, who also says it is a good opportunity to interact with MLAs across Alberta.
“You have the opportunity to have that face-to-face contact that you might not otherwise have living in Grande Prairie with the MLAs who live in Calgary or Lethbridge,” Thiessen said.
Thiessen says the convention is also a good team-building exercise for the council and helps council members advocate for policy goals to other delegates.
This year’s convention runs Wednesday through Friday, and highlights will include speeches by the prime minister and his cabinet on Friday, a speech by official opposition leader Rachel Notley on Thursday, as well as delegates who they voted on more than 20 resolutions.
Delegates will also vote for seats on Alberta’s board of municipalities. Grande Prairie Councilor Dylan Bressey is currently running for a seat on the board of directors.
“Our big goal here is for Councilmember Dylan Bressey to run for a seat on the board of [Alberta Municipalities], and collectively, we are working to help you get elected to have a Grande Prairie voice in [Alberta Municipalities].
The city of Grande Prairie has also introduced a resolution asking Alberta municipalities to pressure the provincial government to better fund the so-called core cities.
“We are the center of the north, and we take on additional services for the surrounding rural municipalities and the doctors and counties,” Thiessen said, “so we are only asking [Alberta Municipalities] through this resolution, to advocate with the province for regional centers and create a funding stream that benefits regional centers for what they do for all municipalities that gravitate towards them ”.
Another resolution that will be voted on by Alberta municipal delegates is to better support first responders and other public safety personnel.
“That was something I personally campaigned on in the elections,” Thiessen said.
“I keep hearing it over and over, they just don’t have as much access to mental health and counseling services as they could,” Thiessen said.
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