We are 9 communities and 8000 people facing a future that won’t look like the past. Rural Alberta is challenged by population decline. We live in a competitive global economy.
We need to think hard not only about how we provide the services people want with very efficient use of tax dollars, but our real legacy will come from figuring out how we can attract families and investment to our region. We shouldn’t aim to just survive, but to thrive.
Imagine that our challenge isn’t about today, it’s about tomorrow.
Today, society has higher expectations for services. Business investment wants lean business costs. We may be able to pay the bills today with the services we have. Even now, some may be struggling to pay bills now as infrastructure ages.
Tomorrow, we need to think about families that have choice to live where they do, and compare quality of life in the Flagstaff region to other options. And from taxation to utility rates, communities influence how attractive they are to investment. How successful our region is in future depends on us figuring out how to provide efficient and enhanced services/amenities that outshine other places. Communities may sow the seeds of their decline by not asking about future needs and desires. We need to work together to meet this challenge. We aren’t big enough or have enough resources individually to think aggressively about the future.
The Flagstaff Regional Governance Initiative is about:
- Developing and implementing shared vision
- Innovating efficient—even admired—services that collaborate where appropriate and practical to do so
- Seeking nimble and effective governance
- Engaging citizens in building a future
- Solving key challenges head on
- Leading rather than following
These are the foundations for legacy-building of next generation prosperity.
We could choose to do nothing. However, the Province has sent strong signals it expects more collaboration between municipalities. It’s better to be in control of destiny than be a victim of fate. Working together and positioning ourselves as a strong region increases all our chances of success.