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Town of Granum’s viability is under review

granum office

Granum is under the microscope as the province conducts a viability review.
Residents were told Jan. 8 about the process that could lead to a vote on dissolving the town to be part of the MD of Willow Creek.
“If people vote, the minister is bound by law to recommend to cabinet that it be dissolved,” said Roy Bedford of Alberta Municipal Affairs.
Municipal Affairs ordered the viability review in response to a petition submitted last fall by residents.
Bedford, a municipal viability advisor, and Micaela Miller, a municipal viability analyst, were at Granum school Jan. 8.
They explained to council and residents that a viability review is governed by the Municipal Government Act, and can lead to ministerial orders and directives or a vote on dissolution.
“The minister cannot recommend the dissolution of a municipality unless there is a viability review,” Bedford said.
The viability review will cover topics such as governance, regional co-operation, administrative and operational capacity, financial stability, municipal services and public safety and community well-being.
“The review is very comprehensive,” Bedford said.
An infrastructure audit will be carried out that will provide a 10-year vision of upgrades that will be needed for sewer, water, sidewalks and other aspects.
“That is a big chunk of the financial picture that everybody needs to know as they move forward,” Bedford said.
The province will fund the infrastructure review.
The viability review team will include representatives from the Town of Granum, MD of Willow Creek, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Alberta Rural Municipal Administrator’s Association, Local Government Administrators Association and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta.
Alberta Municipal Affairs chairs the viability review team.
“From our end, there is no predetermined outcome whatsoever, one way or the other,” Bedford stressed.
The viability review team will collect and analyze information, host public engagement sessions and identify specific viability factors.
The team will ultimately develop a plan with recommendations for the ongoing viability of the Town Granum.
It could be six months before the viability review team completes its work. Bedford noted some viability reviews have taken three years to complete.
“That’s a long time but the information is incredibly important,” Bedford said.
Bedford noted that if Granum residents vote in favour of dissolution, that process also takes time.
“If a community votes in favour of dissolution today, the dissolution doesn’t happen tomorrow,” Bedford said.
The next steps are for the Town of Granum to apply for an Alberta Community partnership grant to pay for the infrastructure audit, followed by a request for proposals to carry out the audit.
The viability review team will likely start its work around the middle of 2019.

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