City Council made a public motion in October to move to voluntary arbitration for the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) as soon as possible to address fundamental topics of disagreement between the City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie that were not being resolved through mediation.
The decision to move to voluntary arbitration was made after almost three and a half years of ICF discussions, one and a half years of negotiation, and an additional eight sessions of mediation between the City and County without any significant progress.
The City preferred to enter into voluntary arbitration ahead of the April 2021 ICF deadline, so that a third party could resolve the unresolved items, while the City and County could focus resources on discussing topics that were progressing.
The City believes there is better value for taxpayers to resolve the fundamental items of disagreement as soon as possible by entering into voluntary arbitration, rather than delaying the process until the ICF deadline. This approach also ensures more regional control for municipalities to make the best decisions for their own residents is retained, rather than waiting until the provincial deadline which will cede all authority of the ICF to a third party.
“While much progress has been made, the City felt that there were a couple items in which there were fundamental differences between the City and County. Specifically, there exists a disagreement on the intention of the Revenue Sharing Agreement the County signed as a condition of becoming a shareholder of Aquatera,” says Mayor Jackie Clayton
“We look forward to making our case before a neutral arbitrator on the issues of dispute so that we can continue to advocate for the best outcome for residents and advance our collaborative efforts with the County.”
In 2017, the Province introduced legislation requiring neighbouring municipalities to negotiate frameworks which are intended to:
- provide for integrated planning, delivery and funding of intermunicipal services
- allocate scarce resources efficiently to provide local services
- ensure municipalities contribute funding to services that benefit their residents
With the assistance of a joint facilitator, Transitional Solution Inc, the City of Grande Prairie and the County of Grande Prairie identified several potential areas to work together or provide joint services to provide mutual benefit for our residents.