Council for the Town of Pincher Creek met on Monday evening, June 22. During the administration portion of the meeting Councillor Doug Thornton read a letter from the MD of Pincher Creek concerning the Regional Collaboration Grant awarded in 2012 to the MD of Crowsnest Pass in the amount of $106,450. The letter was addressed to the Minister of Municipal Affairs Deron Bilous and indicated copies were sent to all participating partners. Thornton read the letter aloud in it's entirety, including a section which said "The Municipal District of Pincher Creek will not approve of or support the re-allocation of any grant funds remaining from the regional collaboration program for any other purpose than for which it was originally granted without the specific written consent of the Minister." Thornton continued reading, saying, "Council is seeking a confirmation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs that approval has been given for this reallocation of funds from the previous grant for the new transportation study being proposed."
The original application of the grant money was used for a study that identified two areas where regional collaboration would be favorable: transportation and garbage collection. Thornton explained there was $27,000 left from the original grant which had to be returned to the province at the end of 2015 if these funds were not used. In June of this year the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass proposed that the remainder be used to fund a feasibility study for an area transportation project between the original partners of the collaboration grant, which included The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, the Village of Cowley, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek, and the Town of Pincher Creek.
Councillor Mark Barber asked if there was permission from the Ministry to reallocate the funds. Thornton replied "We don't need it, three of the four municipalities had agreed to proceed on a feasibility study on transportation, which was one of the two parameters in the grant." Administration indicated that the proposed usage of the funds was within the parameters of the original grant.
CAO Laurie Wilgosh said she had been in contact with the other partners, and specifically the CAO in Crowsnest Pass. "We both agreed that three communities are regional. Whether the fourth wants to be a part of it or not, the three are still a part of a region, and any more than one community constitutes a region." The administration of the Town of Pincher Creek indicated they are still going to continue with the transportation study proposal.
Mayor Don Anderberg said "The managing partner of this grant is the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. So, normally you would go to the managing partner with your concern, and the managing partner would take this concern forward."