Thursday, 30 August 2018 09:40

Minister’s Awards of Municipal Excellence Awards features Coaldale

Written by  Heather Cameron
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Jacen Abrey, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Coaldale, accepts The Safe Communities Award on behalf of the Town of Coaldale. Jacen Abrey, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Coaldale, accepts The Safe Communities Award on behalf of the Town of Coaldale. Heather Cameron

The Town of Coaldale and the City of Lethbridge were presented Minister’s Awards of Municipal Excellence at a ceremony held at Lethbridge City Hall on August 21.

“It’s great to visit this part of the province and present these two awards in person,” Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs for the Government of Alberta, said. “Across Alberta, we are so fortunate to have so many dedicated leaders and teams working hard to serve our communities. What you do and the decisions you make touches the lives of families and businesses and the many groups who depend on you. That’s why the Minister’s Awards of Municipal Excellence are so important to me; I love having the opportunity to honor your accomplishments, your innovation, and the collaboration that is being done to make communities stronger.”
Minister Anderson first presented The Partnership Award to the City of Lethbridge and it was received by Mayor Chris Spearman. Lethbridge received the award for their work and collaboration with the Blackfoot Confederacy Nations.
“I’d like to thank the Minister for recognizing the work that we are doing for the City of Lethbridge and for our neighbors, the Blackfoot people,” Mayor Spearman said. “The traditional knowledge consultation process that takes place within our planning is within compliance. Working with our Indigenous people, understanding their traditional knowledge and their traditional history; the land. It’s important that we take into account the value of that land to them as we continue to develop that land and grow as a city.”
Mayor Spearman says that the City of Lethbridge was one of the first municipalities to have a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“We make sure we involve the Indigenous Elders and we understand the historic importance of the land to the Blackfoot People,” Mayor Spearman said.  “They alert us to what a piece of land means to the Blackfoot People whenever we’re considering a new development and how we might respect aspects of the Blackfoot culture as that area is being developed. We now incorporate that as a standard feature of our planning process.”
Spearman says that the city will continue to expand the process of consultation while continuing to develop the city to ensure that First Nations cultures are properly honored.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure as our city grows, we respect the Blackfoot People, the Metis People, and we make sure that the outcomes with respect to housing, with respect to employment, and with respect to success within our community are realized by all who live here. We understand that isn’t always the case, but we now have the structures and the commitment in place to make a difference and make sure that everyone who lives within our boundaries and our neighbors are respected.”
Following Mayor Spearman’s remarks, Minister Anderson then presented the Safe Communities Award to the Town of Coaldale for their emergency preparedness project.
“It’s clear from our experiences that emergency preparedness is vital,” Anderson said. “I’m now confident that Coaldale’s people are now 100% better prepared because of their work. Thank you for rising to the occasion to do this; you are truly leading the way. We know that these days, disasters happen more frequently and with more power and to be more prepared is a big thing for us in this province. Thank you very much for your work on this.”
The Deputy Mayor of Coaldale, Jacen Abrey, was honored to accept the award on behalf of the Town, but really credited all the work to his staff and volunteers for embracing the town’s emergency preparedness training.
“Presenting these awards is an opportunity for me to come and recognize people that otherwise maybe wouldn’t be and to let the citizens know how hard these people work for the community,” Anderson said. “Lethbridge and Coaldale work really well with the communities around them. When you work with communities around you, it is to the benefit of the people who live in that region. I want you to know that your dedication is not only appreciated by me, but also greatly appreciated by this government.”
IMG 8149: Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman accepts The Partnership Award on behalf of the City of Lethbridge.
IMG 8158: Jacen Abrey, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Coaldale, accepts The Safe Communities Award on behalf of the Town of Coaldale.

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