Wheatland urges province to lift restrictions

·2 min read

Wheatland County is sending a letter to provincial Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s cabinet ministers, requesting a more immediate easing of COVID-19 public health restrictions.

The letter may be found in its entirety in the county’s March 2 council agenda package.

“By lifting these restrictions, our entrepreneurs can begin to live again; by innovating their service-delivery to be safe and inclusive; by generating revenue to pay their employees; by improving health and happiness; and, being motivated and fulfilled to contribute to the greater good of their locale, and of Alberta,” the letter states in part.

“Wheatland County council respectfully requests that you consider significantly easing and ultimately lifting restrictions much sooner than projected, so that Albertans can get back to being innovative, creative, happy and inspired to work again,” it finishes.

According to Wheatland County Councillor Donna Biggar, the letter focuses on the impacts of restrictions on businesses.

“We’re supporting the small- and medium-sized business owners and the people trying to survive,” she said. “We’re not talking about whether you wash your hands or whether you go to groups of parties.”

The initial motion to draft and send a letter was made by Councillor Tom Ikert during the Feb. 16 county council meeting, and was passed in a 5-2 vote.

Sending a letter about an issue to other levels of governments is common, noted Biggar. “I find nothing wrong with sending a letter to other governments with concerns. We do it for roads, ambulance services, regional boundaries; we do it for many things.”

County Councillor Glenn Koester was opposed to the letter. “We have not consulted any experts. These are just our feelings.”

Reeve Amber Link, who voted against sending the letter, said she would not support the letter based on feedback from her constituents and other ratepayers across the county. “We are not responsible for managing healthcare system capacity in response to a pandemic, and I don’t feel equipped to be sending this directive to the province.”

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times