A new motion is looking at taking a firm stance against fly-in-fly-out and the 5:1 Tax Ratio.
Councillor Jeff Peddle opened up Wood Buffalo Council’s meeting on Tuesday with a notice of motion directed at the two topics – both aimed at stopping each from potentially hurting the region.
When it comes to FIFO, Peddle is proposing the municipality look at reducing this workforce, increasing the use of local employees, and having the airport be used to get to work sites, if needed.
Peddle tells Mix News their slow approach with industry can’t be taken anymore.
“We’ve discovered a lot of MOU’s (Memorandums of Understandings) that said that they would work with the municipality, they will hire local – there was a lot put on paper and in my opinion they didn’t live up to a lot of their end of the bargain.”
Peddle is making it clear that the motion is not targeting industry but is focused on helping residents find jobs and bringing more people to the region.
It also mentions having an independent negotiator talk with industry to discuss a healthy median for both parties.
“To me, it’s coming to the table, being fair, and doing what’s best for the municipality,” added Peddle.
As part of the motion, Mayor Don Scott would also write a letter to Premier Rachel Notley asking to have the province construct a task force to do their own report on FIFO, better investment for highway construction to reduce commute times, start a tax levy against work camps and rotational workers, and eliminate all tax advantages for work camps.
Municipal Government Act
Peddle is also asking the province to grandfather the RMWB from the 5:1 tax ratio.
This is the case right now as the provincial government has given the region time to adjust.
The motion states the 10-year transition plan, approved by the previous council, is no longer the best interest for the RMWB.
“We have to reduce $20 million a year, for the next 10 years, so a lot is being put on the municipality.”
To make sure this would happen, Mayor Scott would write another letter, this time to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Shaye Anderson.
The municipality continues to reduce their tax rate from the previous 18.3:1. If council approves the annual tax rate bylaw, it would be lowered to 14.3:1.
Council still needs to approve the motion and will get a chance to discuss it, along with the public, on May 22.