Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Excited, optimistic….. it’s the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a newly elected (or re-elected in this case) politician. Tyler Warman and his council have plenty of reason for that sort of outlook. As Warman says, it seems to be an energetic group, with lots of goals in common – if campaign talk is anything to go by.

“New perspectives, new energy,” he says. ‘Greatly needed.”

Another reason for optimism Warman mentions in an interview – the general economy seems to be in the way up. How that might translate into improved finances for the municipality remains to be seen. The only way that happens, Warman points out, is by more development on more property. How the town can “capitalize on that,” will likely be part of the conversation at the new council’s two-day strategic planning session, scheduled for this week.

“It’s a great chance for our council to dig into a vision and a plan,” Warman says, “And administration will be a big part of that and getting it done.”
One dark cloud on the horizon (or even closer) Warman mentions is the province’s steep cuts in the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI). This is the program of grants that has helped Slave Lake pay for infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, etc.) upgrades over the past decade. It’s due to be slashed by 25 per cent in this fiscal year, and by a further 50 per cent next year.

“That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars (loss for Slave Lake),” Warman says.

Every municipality of course faces the same reduction, and lobbying for more help from the province will likely continue be a big part of what councils do, individually and in groups.

Speaking of which, Warman says he hopes the recently-formed North Central Alberta Alliance, “is going to help with that.”

Northern Alberta generally doesn’t get the attention it deserves, Warman says, and having a group of five municipalities and five First Nations advocating for attention should help in that regard.

How that might express itself hasn’t really been determined – the ink is barely dry on the memorandum of understanding between the 10 parties. But Warman thinks “there is opportunity for the group to (have) a louder voice.”