The Alberta government unveiled an economic plan and vision for the future of rural Alberta on Wednesday.
Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Nate Horner said the new Rural Alberta Economic Development Plan will help shape the province.
“The five-year plan includes key strategies and measurable actions to ensure rural Albertans have economic opportunity where they live,” Horner said.
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Plan highlights include all communities in Alberta having access to broadband internet by 2026, addressing transportation corridor challenges and building on the success of the agri-food sector.
Jim Willett, chair of the South Grow Regional Initiative, said the announcement is good news for southern Alberta.
“It will make a huge difference in the desirability of living and staying in a rural area and doing the work that needs to be done to make agri-food work as it should,” he said.
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Willett added having a time frame for the plan would give rural economic development alliances a chance to look ahead and build a road map that is best for individual communities across the province.
“To have an actual five-year plan, I think it’s probably, it might not be a first, but it’s been a long time since everybody’s had that kind of security, so we can make plans,” Willett said.
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Jobs, Economy and Northern Development Minister Brian Jean said this type of blueprint for rural Alberta would help put those residents on the same playing field as their urban neighbors.
“It’s about making sure that every part of the province is recognized as separate and has the opportunity to put forward their plan for their people, which will ultimately serve all Albertans,” added Jean.
The province said many of these initiatives are already underway and municipalities will be expected to report back during the five-year timeline.
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