By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on August 14, 2020.
The past six months or so has truly changed the world in ways that we haven’t necessarily seen for decades. > The COVID-19 pandemic, a complete collapse on the price of oil as energy demands drop drastically and the global recession as a result of all of these combined factors.
We in Alberta are resilient and have an indomitable pioneering spirit; that is why the Alberta government has created the Alberta Recovery Plan, a plan to create jobs, build the economy and focus on diversifying our market presence. By introducing a record $10-billion investment into needed infrastructure this year, we are creating thousands of jobs now, attracting investment and creating economic capacity. >
Here in Lethbridge we know how important our agricultural sector is and the long-term benefits we will see by investing into that sector now with specific strategies for growth and attraction of private investment.
Diversification is the reason I fought so hard for investments into the expansion at Exhibition Park, a clear agricultural and food-processing hub as well as massive potential for further private investment, and Highway 3 twinning, $150 million that will make travel safer and better suited to support our agricultural business transport. >On top of this our Alberta Recovery Plan includes investment dollars for our world-class irrigation system with over $10 million in maintenance dollars now and round-table discussions for clear strategy for infrastructure investment in the future.
As we seek to add diversity for our province, we have recognized the needs of our business community by highlighting broadband infrastructure and the Lethbridge airport as key to our economic growth and recovery, two more items that I will continue to work towards in co-operation with our municipal and federal governments. >We will continue to fund and build back our energy sector as it provides so many jobs and supports so many additional industries for a full-spectrum approach on getting Alberta back to work. An additional tool we’ve launched is the Innovation Employment Grant to incentivize the creating of high-paying jobs by making Alberta the best place to invest in tech and innovation.
The Alberta Recovery Plan is underway and releasing a series of sector strategies that focus on agriculture and forestry, tourism, technology and innovation, aviation, finance and fintech. Not only that, but we have and will continue to support the arts by creating a Cultural Event Relaunch that supports music, performing arts and landmark events which have been disproportionality affected by the public health measures.
This pandemic has been an unforeseen set of circumstances, and understanding, respect and rational thinking are integral to a recovery. This government will invest in our communities, we will help rebuild. >In Lethbridge we received some of the largest financial support for our university and college in the province with infrastructure maintenance dollars at a total of almost $25 million.
There are times where it is difficult to see what is being done behind the scenes in Edmonton and around the province, times where it is hard to comprehend the volume of work, the sheer hours of meetings, the thousands of emails and questions being faced to find a way through this and provide the people of Alberta with hope, direction and a plan for the future, but we will do it, together. >
We have had many wins these last few months; we have seen the reopening of our province and we have seen the resiliency of Albertans. Albertans came together to flatten the curve, and now it is time to come together and restart the economy. Let’s get Alberta back to work.
Nathan Neudorf is the UCP MLA for Lethbridge East. His column appears monthly.