Provincial plan announced to drive economic growth in rural Alberta

The Alberta government unveiled an economic plan and vision for the future of rural Alberta on Wednesday.

Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Nate Horner said the new Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan will help shape the province.

“The five year plan includes key strategies and measurable actions to ensure rural Albertans have economic opportunities where they live,” Horner said.

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Plan highlights include all communities in Alberta having access to broadband internet a 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 great news for southern Alberta.

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“It will make a big difference in the desirability to live and remain in a rural area and do the jobs that have to be done to make agri-foods work the way it should,” he said.

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Willett added having a timeframe for the plan will 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 that is probably, it may not be a first but its been a long time since everybody had that kind of security so we can make plans,” Willett said.

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Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development, said this type of blueprint for rural Alberta will help put those residents on the same playing field as their urban neighbours.

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“Its about making sure that each part of the province is recognized as distinct and has the opportunity to put forward their plan for their people, which will serve all Albertans ultimately,” added Jean.

The province said many of these initiatives are already underway and municipalities will be expected to report back throughout the five-year timeline.

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