In the last full week of September, Blackfalds Council members and I had the opportunity to attend the annual Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Convention and Trade Show. The AUMA is a provincial association that supports our cities, towns, villages and summer villages with professional development, business services and advocacy with the provincial government.
The convention kicked off on a high note with the Town of Blackfalds winning the 2014 Sustainability in Action Award for a community with a population of between 2,500 – 10,000 residents. This award recognizes exceptional performance in implementing municipal sustainability plans. The focus this year was on social sustainability and Blackfalds was recognized for its achievements in moving from planning to measurable success with initiatives related to health, affordability, inclusiveness, and quality of life. The focus this year was on social sustainability and Blackfalds was recognized for its achievements in moving from planning to measurable success with initiatives related to health, affordability, inclusiveness and quality of life.
The focus this year was on social sustainability and Blackfalds was recognized for its achievements in moving from planning to measurable success with initiatives related to health, affordability, inclusiveness, and quality of life. I am tremendously honored that Blackfalds has been identified by our municipal peers for this recognition. The award was based on the facilities, programming and services at the Abbey Master Builder Centre that have been designed to meet the social needs of the residents of the Town of Blackfalds.
This convention also regularly provides an avenue for communities to bring forward formal requests for changes that they would like to see.
This year Blackfalds presented a resolution calling for an exemption to the reporting requirements for commissions that do not provide specific services are who are solely funded by provincial grant funding. The intent is to allow more of the funding dollars to be used toward the intended projects of the commission and less on the preparation and submission of reporting requirements. I am pleased to share that the AUMA delegates in attendance voted in favor of this resolution and that the AUMA will now be bringing this request forward to the relevant provincial government ministry as well.
I am always impressed by the wide range of important topics and issues that are being worked on by the AUMA, its elected directors and its volunteer committee members. I have served on the Sustainability and the Environment Committee since 2008 and I am very proud of the achievements of that group. We have worked on practical water conservation plans, recycling and solid waste management initiatives and sustainability planning. This year our committee provided a panel discussion on ‘brownfields’ to the AUMA delegates.
Other educational opportunities at the conference included presentations on seniors housing, emergency management and partnership building.
AUMA delegates are also able to meet with provincial government ministers and discuss concerns and issues that are important to their communities.
Premier Prentice and the leaders of all the opposition parties were also in attendance at the conference. Blackfalds council members met with the Ministry of Alberta Transportation and RCMP ‘K’ division officials to dialogue about our local concerns. We also spoke with Premier Prentice and shared Blackfalds’ concerns regarding the long wait for the construction of our new school.
This was a positive discussion and we will follow up with the new Minister of Infrastructure in the very near future.
Participation at the AUMA conference is an important part of an elected official’s duties.
We are able to learn from our respected colleagues and to build relationships with other municipalities that are dealing with or have dealt with similar challenges.
Our participation at this event is made possible by our community.
The council team extends its thanks to our residents for supporting our attendance at this event and other relevant professional development opportunities and works hard to ensure that our time spent at these endeavors is productive and fiscally responsible. I am very proud to work with a team of councillors that shows so much respect for this investment in our community.
Melodie Stol is the mayor of Blackfalds.