The Journal is reporting some big news out of the Edmonton capital region this morning. Over the past while (ok, for just about as long as anyone can remember) there has been a lot of acrimony between the 25 municipalities in the region. Edmonton seems to essentially feel that they are providing a lot of services for the region while the new industrial developments (and the taxes that go along with it) were setting up shop just next door - in the counties.
Anyways, Premier Stelmach has chosen to step in and enforce a solution. It will essentially set up a governing board made up of the 25 municipalities. The board has final say in two very specific areas, the most important being land-use planning:
"The regional board will have authority over land-use planning and intermunicipal transit. Counties around Edmonton, two of which are in an upgrader-building boom tied to the oilsands, strongly oppose such a body.
But Stelmach said all 25 of the region's municipalities will be part of the new board. For a motion to pass, it will need the support of 17 of 25 municipalities representing at least 75 per cent of the region's population.
The structure essentially gives Edmonton a veto."
It's going to be interesting to see how this works in actual practice and what kind of impact it makes on the region. It sounds as though Edmonton now has a say over where industry locates in the region and that could be big.
Of course the exact same issue of inter-municipal conflict has been brewing across the province so it's going to be interesting to see if this regional board is a sign of things to come for the rest of us.