BONNYVILLE – Town of Bonnyville council wants to ‘sell’ the municipality to the provincial government and beyond.
During a March 9 meeting, a discussion was had surrounding inviting ministers to the area, including Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation Doug Schweitzer, and exploring the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Innovation, and Economy’s investment in growth strategy called ‘Selling Alberta to the World.’
“The Town and MD of Bonnyville have been actively involved in economic development strategies for our region,” detailed Ttown CAO Bill Rogers. “In addition to this, the town has previously held a meeting with industry trade representatives to discuss the issues that we’ve faced during the economic downturn and potential opportunities that can help the Bonnyville region in the future.”
With this in mind, Rogers noted the provincial government "plays an important role between investors and the Government of Canada."
“Higher levels of government are always the first contact for international investors seeking information on investing in Canada and Alberta municipalities,” he continued. “Selling Alberta to the world commits to the Alberta government to working with partners across government and industry to carry out the elements of the investment and growth strategy.”
One of council’s priorities is to promote economic growth. As this provincial program fits in with that, council had a discussion to see how best Bonnyville could be positioned to partner with the ministry to attract future investment projects in the future.
Coun. Elisa Brosseau requested the topic be brought to the meeting and suggested they follow-up with one aspect of the strategy. It said the Government of Alberta wanted regular consultations with all levels of government to strengthen relationships, maximize municipal investment, and maintain awareness of provincial and regional priorities.
“That really spoke to me as a ‘let’s connect with the provincial government.’ To me, they’re asking us, they want to know what’s in our region, what we have to offer them so they can sell Alberta. Essentially, I feel like we really need to be selling our region to the provincial government,” she expressed.
Inviting ministers to the area was a suggestion Brosseau offered in order to show off everything the Bonnyville area has to offer, and it was an idea that Mayor Gene Sobolewski supported.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get ministers to come out here. I think, particularly in this advent of a downturn, having these ministers basically be able to help sell the region, I mean any little bit would help,” he said, adding the economic development committee could also play a role in promoting the area.
“Say when we go to Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) or Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), but not just as the Town of Bonnyville. It has to be as a region, so the MD, town, and maybe even the County of St. Paul and Lac La Biche. Basically, highlight that we’re not just oil and gas to the international marketplace, but we’re also about tourism and other opportunities that could arise.”
Developing talking points for everyone involved was an idea from Coun. Brian McEvoy to ensure there’s a common message that’s being shared.
Brosseau encouraged a letter of invitation be sent out to get the ball rolling now.
“I think it’s better than to wait until the pandemic is over and then people are getting ready to go and we’re just starting. I think it’s prudent for us to start now.”