MD OF BIGHORN – The Municipal District of Bighorn was offered the chance to join the Central Alberta Economic Partnership at its most recent council meeting.
The CAEP delegation, led by Kimberly Worthington, spoke with council on July 12 about joining the central Alberta organization. The cost is 70 cents per head in the MD, amounting to about $420 per year.
“You get a lot of networking opportunities,” Worthington said. “Lots of learning opportunities in terms of economic development and how to implement economic development. We have a roving [economic development officer] that can come into your municipality to help you with big projects and little projects.”
Worthington said the organization's elections are held in the autumn, typically alternating between Red Deer and outlying areas.
“We don’t have a location as of yet,” Worthington said. “We just had our AGM on June 17, which was in Innisfail. We wait until your organizational meetings are done before we have our elections. Then we have a meeting in early December, and we settle our dates for the following year then and you know them in advance.”
CAEP features a collection of counties, cities, towns, villages and first nations in its membership. The organization helps build relationships between communities and focuses on growing economic partnerships.
The members stretch from the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the badlands to areas just outside of Calgary. It also has associate members in businesses such as energy companies and consulting firms.
Bighorn Reeve Lisa Rosvold also asked if administration could attend the meetings, or if it was only for councillors.
“Our board is comprised of 11 elected officials,” Worthington said. “Typically, I have an administrative contact and a council contact. Lots will go through administration. There are engagement sessions for administration if you prefer to send administration to those events.”
Currently, the MD of Bighorn does not have an economic development officer (EDO). Rosvold asked how many members of the CAEP don’t have an EDO.
“In the entire catchment area, there are about 40 municipalities,” Worthington said. “We have a 70 to 80 per cent participation rate with those municipalities on an ongoing basis. Close to half of those have an EDO.”