City of Red Deer expresses concerns with MGA

Council discusses Municipal Government Act regulations on Monday night

On Monday night’s council meeting, councillors discussed the Municipal Government Act (MGA) Regulations.

The MGA is the most significant piece of provincial legislation that governs municipalities, council heard.

“The government has been working over the past couple of years on amendments to the act which ultimately will determine what cities in the future are able to do and not able to do,” said Mayor Tara Veer.

The Government previously indicated that much of the detail being requested by municipalities pertaining to changes to the MGA would be found in regulations expected to be released in the spring of 2017. When the legislation was introduced, (Bill 20 and 21) to modernize the MGA, they anticipated that between 60 and 100 regulations would be developed and reviewed. These regulations, minus two, are the last ones that will be drafted, bringing the total to 25. This is less than what the province has recently anticipated.

Veer said there are some areas in the regulations that they think hold some potential for Red Deer as a municipality and some areas of potential concern they are monitoring.

With respect to the regulations that were tabled, she said, council gave direction in offering support on some of those areas.

She added, for example the ability for municipalities to split our mill rates, for incentive of certain types of developments is a welcome tool for the City, “But then there’s some areas of concern or areas that we need more information and clarity on.”

An example, she said, is the relationship between statutory plans, such as the Intermunicipal Development Plan and the Intermunicipal Collaboration frameworks.

“Those are areas where we need more information to make sure that we’re making the best possible decision on behalf of the citizens of Red Deer.”

Administration has been providing input on draft regulations through participation in AUMA and professional associations. The review of these regulations was done based on council’s MGA review policy and other feedback they have provided to Municipal Affairs. The regulatory review process has been challenging as smaller municipalities may favour many and detailed regulations, while larger cities like that of Red Deer may wish to have more flexibility in the approach to complying with legislation, officials have said.

carlie.connolly@reddeerexpress.com

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