The Cold Lake Air Weapons Range Agreement is still top-of-mind for city council. It has placed the deal at the top of its list of strategic priorities after finding out it would lose roughly $10 million a year earlier this month.
“No one can say that the City of Cold Lake was consulted on the new arrangement, nor can anyone say we were forewarned about the impact these changes would have on the future of our city,” says Mayor Craig Copeland. “Unfortunately, we see this issue top our chart again. And, if we move forward under the present set of circumstances, our concerns will increasingly shift from the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range Agreement to the outright sustainability of our community.”
The City maintains the original agreement was intended to transition the range to them after five years, and not for it to expire. The changes instead have its share of funds going from about $26 million annually to $16 million, with the Town and MD of Bonnyville, the Village of Glendon, and the County of Lac La Biche now getting a share.
Copeland argues they were blindsided by the decision, and the new arrangement is no longer stable and predictable.
“Throughout this process, our neighbours have repeatedly and publically [sic] stated that they did not want to see any new arrangement negatively impact the Cold Lake. When the minister told us without prior warning that we would lose $10 million annually, they quickly celebrated despite the disastrous impacts it will have to the city.”
The city’s other top strategic priorities include the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework, crime prevention, public consultation on annexation, and a commercial air service.