Wednesday, April 11, 2007


You may not have heard the word Rurban before. It's a combination of Rural and urban and it's defined as: combining aspects of both rural and urban or suburban life.

If you weren't familiar with it get ready to hear this word more often in Alberta, there's very little true rural left. Actually, as of 2001 StatsCan said that Alberta's population was 81% urban.

The automobile has changed the way we live. When my Dad was born in the '50s coming into Grande Prairie from DeBolt was a big deal. He might have come to town a few times a year, if he was lucky. Now, DeBolt is a quick 30 minute trip and before my uncle left the homestead last year I bet either he, or my aunt (or both) were in town at least once a week. It's a fact now that you can live where you want, work where you need to, and have fun where you want - just just have to be able to afford the gas for the car (or truck).

That being the case, it's no wonder that we are starting to see areas that used to be rural looking pretty darn urban. Not just here in GP, with the new country residential subdivisions, but around the province.

The MD of Rocky View, just north of Calgary, wants to turn the hamlet of Balzac in to something pretty urban. Two area structure plans (ASPs) for the area say that it could be home to over 40,000 people by 2035.

That's a lot of rurbanites.

The question then, is this: How do local governments change to keep pace?

If a hamlet has 40,000 residents do they deserve their own local government?
- hamlets don't get one now.

If a rural (county or M.D.) has these type of communities do they start to pay for things like police in the same way cities do?
- right now, cities pay about 90% of the cost for each officer they have, the province pays for the rurals

If I live my day to day life in a one hour driving time radius, do the boundaries of governments need to change?

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