Don Lowry has a certain way with metaphors.
“The big horse, energy, is not going to carry us all the way,” says the former CEO of Epcor, and current chairman of the Edmonton Metro Advisory Panel.
Translation? We have to diversify our regional economy because we can’t count on the energy sector to do all the work for us.
“We can’t just hunker down in our municipalities and milk the cows that we have.”
Translation? Cities and counties can’t just go on relying on their own local tax bases.
“You can’t have 24 quarterbacks all calling different plays in huddle. At least shave it down to nine quarterbacks.”
Translation? The 24-member Capital Region Board, created, somewhat forcibly, by then-premier Ed Stelmach back in 2008, isn’t nimble enough to give metro Edmonton the leadership it needs.
On Friday, Lowry and his panel released a scathing report about this region’s future. The report was commissioned last fall at a cost of $600,000 by a new group called the Metro Mayors Alliance. It represents nine municipalities with 95 per cent of the regional population, and 96 per cent of the regional tax assessment base: Edmonton, Strathcona County, St. Albert, Sturgeon County, Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, Spruce Grove and Parkland County.
“If municipalities don’t change their current trajectory,” the report warns, “as much as 87,700 additional hectares of agricultural land and 50,200 hectares of natural areas could be lost to unco-ordinated development over the next 50 years.”
Full Story (Edmonton Journal)