Changes to MGA affect all Albertans

The provincial government announced last week the modernized version of the MGA will be ready in time for the next municipal election.

Last spring the provincial government kicked off an overhaul of the Municipal Government Act (MGA), the document that helps define how municipalities, like the Town of Blackfalds, City of Lacombe and Lacombe County, operate, the types of services they will provide and how they pay for services.

The last time this document, also know as Bill 20, was updated was in 1995.

The MGA acts as a true guide to how municipalities operate and as Albertans, we should pay attention to the changes to Bill 20 because they will affect us.

The provincial government announced last week the modernized version of the MGA will be ready in time for the next municipal election in 2017.

Officials stated a key piece of the updated document lies in municipal partnerships, such as how municipalities have the capacity to work together. They said with the growing amount number of families in the province, a more, “Collaborative, forward-thinking approach to service delivery is needed now more than ever.”

Many municipalities already have documents in place and are already working collaboratively at many levels. Take for example the BOLT Transit program and the agreements the Town of Blackfalds and City of Lacombe both have with Lacombe County regarding shared funding of recreation and cultural activities.

Currently, the City and County are working on updating their Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP).

An IDP, in essence, is a planning document that helps directs growth, both population and industrial, in the area surrounding the City. The plan will help to determine development goals and provides a framework for future City and County cooperation.

The document is in need of an update due to the Lacombe region’s sustained growth and upcoming changes to the MGA.

The first opportunity for the public to provide input to the IDP is at an open house on Nov. 10th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30p.m. at the LMC.

The PC government tabled the first phase of the MGA, Bill 20, amendments last March.

The NDP government will introduce the updated document in the Legislature this spring. Municipalities, community organizations, businesses and Albertans will then, like the City of Lacombe and Lacombe County IDP process, have the opportunity to review the amendments and provide feedback. The complete debate of Bill 20 will then be held during the fall sitting after all feedback has been considered.

All changes to the MGA will then be proclaimed before the fall 2017 municipal elections.