5 hamlets split $1 million for upgrades

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Five hamlets in Big Lakes County will now get equal funding under its hamlet infrastructure upgrades program.
At its regular meeting May 25, council approved a motion to allocate $200,000 for each hamlet including Enilda, Grouard, Joussard, Faust and Kinuso from the program’s $1 million budget.
Funding was previously allocated by a formula based on population from the most recent federal census. Under that formula, council would have assigned $310,121 to Joussard based on a population of 334, $261,838 to Faust [population of 282], $154,132 to Grouard [population 166], $139,276 to Kinuso [population 150], and $134,633 to Enilda [population 145.]
Enilda – Big Meadow Councillor Lane Monteith supported the new formula citing it will help smaller hamlets like Enilda.
“It’s makes it tough to improve our hamlets and grow our population,” he said.
The previous funding allocation was based on an investment of $928.50 per capita, CAO Jordan Panasiuk wrote in a report to council.
Under the new formula, Enilda is allocated $1,379 per resident, followed by Kinuso at $1,333, Grouard at $1,205, Faust at $709 and Joussard at $599.
Panasiuk noted equal funding has some inequities.
“Although this may seem equitable, it should be considered that this may also lend to a disproportionate investment into smaller hamlets,” Panasiuk said.
However, other councillors supported the new formula.
“I think it’s best to be equal to each hamlet,” North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk said.
Reeve Robert Nygaard suggested the $1 million be shared equally with all the hamlets for the next four years.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux suggested the funds be preserved in a reserve account and be used to help economic development.
“To get economic development, we need to lock it in,” he said.
However, South Sunset House, Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart suggested council review the funding when it prepares the budget.
“If we don’t have the money, we can rescind it,” she said.
“You’ve got to remember, in the next budget, we can always change our minds.”

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