GP County Reeve Beaupre Reflects on 2021

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Grande Prairie County has been through a difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic and agricultural disaster this summer, but Grande Prairie County Reeve Leanne Beaupre remains optimistic about the new year ahead.


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Beaupre thinks it’s hard not to think of the COVID-19 pandemic when you think of 2021.

“I think the most important thing I’ll remember about 2021 was the fact that the pandemic and the COVID virus were front and center for most people,” Beaupre said.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc everywhere, but Beaupre believes it has exacerbated a specific problem in the community with rural internet connectivity, as many people had to work remotely.

“That is something that I believe all municipalities will have experienced and will continue to experience,” Beaupre said.

Beaupre says better connectivity won’t happen overnight, but it’s encouraging that all levels of government agree that rural communities need to be better connected and are committing funds to that goal.

Another major catastrophic event for the county was this summer’s agricultural disaster, when the combination of high temperatures and virtually no humidity decimated agricultural production in the region.

“A lot of the crops and even the grains, as well as the hay crops that growers depend on, just weren’t there,” Beaupre said.

Both the provincial and federal governments provided assistance to agricultural producers, but Beaupre believes this year’s disaster will affect the community for some time to come.

“[the agricultural producers] They hope to hold out this season and they hope for a better season. [next year]but they are truly the eternal optimist, ”said Beaupre.


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Another major event in 2021 was the welcoming of the village of Hythe to the county after the township voted to disband in June of this year.

“That was very exciting.” Beaupre said. “It was a bit scary, I think, for both parties, and we continue to welcome and celebrate them.”

Beaupre says both parties are working together collaboratively through increased information sharing, a county investment in the Hythe Fire Station, and Beaupre looks forward to 2022 when village residents will see the full range of services that the county can provide them.

While 2021 was a difficult year, Beaupre also highlighted a number of positive achievements that the county has made progress with.

A major achievement for the county, according to Beaupre, was the construction of bridges and interlocks of Highway 40.

“I have lived in the area for 26 years and I see the amount of daily traffic and the problems,” said Beaupre.

Beaupre says another important achievement for the county was being able to postpone the introduction of new taxes.

“We wanted to ensure that the budget struck a balance between maintaining essential services and programs while continuing to invest in our critical and critical infrastructure,” said Beaupre.

The county is also proud to have been able to find a way to repurpose underutilized workers, to continue serving the county during a pandemic without laying off any employees.


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“We were very proud of the fact that we did not lay off any employees,” Beaupre said.

This county, according to Beaupre, was also able to take steps to improve its working relationship between the county and the city of Grande Prairie, thanks to changes to the Alberta Municipal Government Act.

“For many municipalities, that was just a formality, because we have been doing it out of necessity and being good neighbors for many years,” Beaupre said.

“The city, counties and municipal governments have worked very hard on behalf of their taxpayers to recognize what goods and services we offer and that each of us uses in different municipalities,” said Beaupre.

One very positive memory Beaupre will cherish for 2021 was Walter Paszkowski’s induction into the Agriculture Hall of Fame. He was a stalwart in the region as a farmer and an elected representative at the municipal and provincial level.

“He has been one of the biggest advocates of agriculture in our area in the Country of Peace,” said Beaupre. “Grande Prairie County was proud to nominate Walter for that.”

Following provincial politics, Paszkowski worked for the county as an economic development officer, helping to deliver capital and investment projects for the region.

“It has been instrumental in getting many of the largest facilities you see in and around Grande Prairie County,” said Beaupre.

Beaupre hopes that everyone in the region can have a happy and peaceful Christmas season and a successful 2022.

“On behalf of my family and for my family in Grande Prairie County, I would like to wish everyone a very warm holiday season,” said Beaupre. “I hope everyone is healthy and safe, and I look forward to a healthy and prosperous year.”



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