NADC advocates for broadband in the north

Map of northern Alberta as defined by the Northern Alberta Development Council. Courtesy of the Alberta government.

Pearl Lorentzen
For South Peace News

The Northern Alberta Development Council 2018-19 annual report says it advocated for more broadband internet in the north; released a report of types of flax which will grow in the area (a food and fiber crop); and researched geothermal energy.

The NADC website says, “the Northern Alberta Development Council advances the promise of Alberta’s North.”

Ken Noskey, of Peavine Métis Settlement, north of High Prairie, is the representative for Lesser Slave Lake area.

Jeannette Danks represents Peace River.

In July, the Alberta government announced the appointment of five other members to the NADC.

The new members are two from Lac La Biche area, two from Grande Prairie, and one from Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray area.

The NADC was start in 1963, says the NADC 2018-19 annual report, “The NADC was one of the recommendations from the 1958 Report of the Royal Commission on the Development of Northern Alberta.

“The report focused on the current and potential development of northern Alberta with regard to population trends, the extent, location, and market trends of natural resources, electrical power, transportation and communication requirements, and industrial and agricultural opportunities.”

Longtime Slave Lake resident, Dennis Barton was on the council for about five years in the late 1960s.

“We had a budget back then for projects,” Barton says.

“It was quite interesting.”

Some of the projects included upgrading the airports in Slave Lake and High Prairie, building a bridge in Red Earth Creek and building a road from Trout Lake (at the time called Graham Lake) to Peerless Lake, because Graham Lake was a good size to land medical float planes.

There was no road from Peerless Lake to the outside world.

Since the 1970s, there hasn’t been a budget for projects, says Barton.

NADC has been an advisory council.

In 1971, Barton resigned from the NADC when he was elected as MLA for Lesser Slave Lake.

Henry Sinclair, of Slave Lake, was the representative for many years.

The NADC serves a large geographic area.

NADC 2018-19 annual report says, northern Alberta has 8.9 per cent of Alberta’s population (350,000), but 60 per cent of the land mass.

It includes land in Treaty 6, 8, and 10 which is divided into 150 communities.

They include:

  • -18 municipal districts and counties.
  • -22 towns, including Slave Lake, High Prairie, and Peace River.
  • -Nine villages, including Donnelly and Berwyn.
  • -103 hamlets.
  • -11 summer villages.
  • -Two cities, including Grande Prairie and Cold Lake.
  • -Three specialized municipalities, including MacKenzie County, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Lac La Biche County.
  • -Two improvement districts.
  • -Eight Métis settlements, including Peavine, East Prairie, and Gift Lake.
  • -32 First Nations, including Sawridge, Swan River, Bigstone, Sucker Creek, Driftpile, Loon River, and Trout-Peerless.

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