Credit for this idea goes to M.D. #124 councillor Norm Seatter. It’s a creative way of kickstarting the funding campaign for a Marten Beach flood mitigation project.
It starts with all that M.D. revenue from linear assessment that the M.D. isn’t getting, thanks to the province giving a three-year ‘tax holiday’ on wells and pipelines. Seatter figures at current rates, by the time the holiday is over it will have cost the M.D. $3.5 million.
Worth noting is that when the province decided to give away this municipal revenue, it was because the price of oil was low. The government thought an incentive to drill and build pipelines was a good idea. Not long after it started, the price per barrel shot up and has stayed that way. The incentive became completely irrelevant, as oil production in the Marten Hills and elsewhere soared.
Seatter, who works in the industry, has the figures and isn’t shy about sharing them around. For example, he said last week there are 100 B-trains of oil coming down the highway to the Edmonton area every single day from production in the M.D. At the going rate, that’s over 5,000 bucks’-worth of royalties for the province, per truckload. And that’s just the traffic via Hwy. 88. There’s plenty more oil coming out of that area via a couple of pipelines, plus some trucked out via Calling Lake.
Getting back to the lost tax revenue, since it’s the M.D.’s money to begin with, the province could and should hand it back over to the M.D. Then the M.D. could set it aside for the flood mitigation project. That’d be maybe a third of the cost, right there. If the federal government comes through with 40 per cent (which has been applied for, under its disaster relief program), and you’re two thirds of the way home.