MD council connects Y2Y

·2 min read

It’s not every day you get to contribute to a vision spanning 3,200 kilometres.

Council for the MD of Pincher Creek had just that opportunity during its Dec. 8 regular meeting when Pattie Richards and Connie Simmons presented plans for a data collection project the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative was undertaking.

Y2Y is an organization set on developing an interconnected system of land and water from Yellowstone to Yukon that harmonizes the needs of people and nature.

The Emerging Economies research project involves collecting socioeconomic data in southwestern Alberta to see what effect the creation of the Castle parks boundary in 2017 has had in the area.

Y2Y has done similar research in the upper Columbia region in British Columbia.

Y2Y is interested to see what data can be collected in the area on age demographics, in and out migration, and the number of local jobs in each sector.

The goal is to see what opportunities have been created with the parks and how those opportunities can be further advanced, particularly in recreation, industry and tourism.

The project’s first phase is to gather historic and current data from southwestern Alberta, specifically before the formation of the parks to the present, to understand trends and economic drivers in the region.

Data collection is anticipated to finish in the first three months of 2021. The stakeholder consultation phase is hoped to begin later next year as in-person meetings are again permissible.

Currently, local stakeholders are being gathered to advise Y2Y on all phases of the project, which is why a meeting with council was requested.

“We cannot do this without the governments,” said Ms. Richards. “You represent the voices of your community. You know them better than anyone, you know your MD better. We would like you to be part of the review, and we’d also like you to be part of the communication of the project.”

In addition to local government, project organizers hope to partner with local residents, First Nations, industry experts, business leaders, recreationists and economic developers.

Overall, council expressed interest in participating.

“Looks like a really interesting project, and certainly something that is relevant right now in the context of what’s happening in our municipality and where we’re at,” said Coun. Bev Everts.

Further details on the project can be found on the Y2Y website at http://bit.ly/projectY2Y.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze