A coalition of rural communities and organizations in the RMWB has officially requested a review of amalgamation.
They are asking for the governance review of the 1995 agreement due to an unequal divvying of funds and resources within the municipality.
Fort McKay Metis Community Association President Ron Quintal made the request in-person on behalf of 17 organizations* to Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee in a meeting yesterday.
“We gave up that huge tax base (in 1995),” he said. “And we have very little of that coming back to our communities. We take that as an insult.”
Quintal pointed out that revenue from the rural communities accounts for over 90% of the RMWB’s budget, while approximately 4.5% is spent outside of the Urban Service Area. He added that when accounting for the shadow population lodged in the rural areas, one-third of the municipality’s population resides outside Fort McMurray, making it an unfair exchange of funds.
“We feel it’s something that’s gone on for far too long,” he said. “We are not getting an equitable voice at the table. We feel that we are not getting proper representation in terms of the urban representing the rural. We feel that it’s time that we change that.”
The coalition says the review isn’t necessarily a look at de-amalgamation. Rather, they’ve asked Minister Larivee to step in and facilitate improvements in the relationship between the RMWB and rural communities.
Quintal adds with some councillors consistently opposing rural projects like the Conklin Multiplex, they need the province to step in and change things.
“We need an objective point of view,” he said. “We need the minister to step in and try to fix this.”
*The list of organizations involved in the coalition:
• Anzac Community Association
• Athabasca Tribal Council (Supporting the 5 First Nations)
• Chipewyan Prairie First Nation
• Fort McMurray First Nation 468
• Fort McKay First Nation
• Mikisew Cree First Nation
• Athabasca Chipewyan Prairie First Nation
• Chard Métis Society
• Conklin Métis Local 193
• Conklin Community Association
• Conklin Community Enhancement Society
• Conklin Resource Development Advisory Committee
• McMurray Métis
• Fort McKay Métis
• Fort Chipewyan Métis Local
• Willow Lake Métis Local 780
• Wood Buffalo Metis Council