There's more saber rattling going on in northeast Alberta oilpatch municipalities these days, and it's producing threats to curb development.
Outspoken Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland used a late-July news release to blast not only the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo - Alberta's biggest oilsands municipality and the home of Fort McMurray - but also that region's MLA, Wild Rose Alliance member Guy Boutillier.
Cold Lake officials are upset with Boutillier and their neighbours to the north for comments made about the City of Cold Lake's pitch for tax revenue from the air weapons range between Fort Mac and Cold Lake.
Cold Lake officials maintain their community isn't sustainable in the long term without tax revenue from oilsands installations beyond the city - such as those in the Municipal District of Bonnyville, on the air weapons range and in Wood Buffalo.
After unsuccessfully pursuing dissolution into the M.D. a few years ago, Cold Lake has been looking for help from the province, but Copeland says Alberta's assessment-rich "have" municipalities that collect millions of dollars in taxes each year from things like pipeline assessment need to give up some of their riches to make the system work better.
"The City of Cold Lake has not seen the final proposal from the Province of Alberta, [but] dissolution into the M.D. of Bonnyville will definitely be back on the table if the funding situation does not change," said a City of Cold Lake news release that quoted the mayor. "Furthermore, the City of Cold Lake will need to address the situation around infrastructure capacity throughout this community. If there is no funding to have infrastructure replacement or expansion, then the city will have to look at reducing services and capping any further development."
The Cold Lake-Bonnyville region is the second most significant oilsands region in Alberta, and home to several projects expected to put more pressure on Cold Lake as a regional service centre in northeast Alberta.
A provincially mandated consultant's review of Cold Lake's operations and governance in 2010 found the city sustainable, but urged Cold Lake and its neighbours to work together.
from Western Investor September 2011