LAKELAND – In a corporate priorities council meeting on Jan. 17, City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland spoke up about the city’s urgent issues, highlighting the need for provincial funding. The mayor discussed these concerns with MLA Scott Cyr during the meeting, outlining the challenges faced by Cold Lake and expressing disappointment in the current situation. 

Mayor Copeland highlighted the absence of provincial capital dollars and the City’s struggle to secure funds for essential projects. He pointed out the absence of a provincial building that could house essential services for addictions, services like Alberta Works, and a courthouse. and the urgent need for the expansion of the local hospital. The mayor expressed the critical situation, stating, “Our hospital has not seen expansion for a major retrofit. In terms of a hospital that is busting at the doors, there is a need to see some provincial dollars starting to see flowing into our community.” 

Copeland’s concerns extended to the education sector, with several school divisions in need of expansion. Looking ahead to the 2024 budget release, he expressed hope for positive developments. However, he warned, “If it’s not, I will be seriously disappointed in the government.” 

Addressing what he sees as historical disparity in funding, Copeland asserted that the Cold Lake area has not received its fair share of resources over the last 15 years, regardless of the political party in power. He emphasized the need for a change in the funding approach, stating, “Regardless of the conservative government or the NDP government, it doesn’t matter, Scott, the fine margin when you look over the last 15 years, this area is not even getting close to a fair share.” 

Expressing frustration with previous lobbying efforts and looking ahead, Copeland stressed the importance of visible results in the 2026 budget. He highlighted safety concerns associated with the construction of Highway 28, stating, “If it’s not in the 2026 budget, then we got some serious problems here, not just for the City of Cold Lake but for anyone that wants to come work out here.” 

Copeland also indicated the expectation within the community that the 2026 budget would address these concerns. He asserted, “I think our community is expecting that it will be in the 2026 budget, if it’s not, I don’t know where we’re going to go to next because I am not sitting around as a mayor waiting around for 2027.” 

In response to Copeland’s remarks, MLA Scott Cyr acknowledged the challenges but expressed optimism about the progress made. He thanked Mayor Copeland for his advocacy and emphasized the importance of collective efforts, saying, “That advocacy helped build where we’re at today.” 

MLA Cyr addressed the specific issue of Highway 28, acknowledging the significance of the design work and the premier’s commitment to discussions about the project. He reassured the community, saying, “I want to see Highway 28 safe for myself, my children, and the families within our community, and I’ll tell you I will continue to put this as my highest priority.” 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 29, 2024 at 17:38

This item reprinted with permission from   Lakeland This Week   Bonnyville, Alberta

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