Alberta HUB Elects New Board Executives
New executive members at Alberta HUB include City of Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers as chair, Town of Vermilion Councillor Robert Pulyk as vice chair, and Village of Marwayne Councillor Cheryle Eikeland as secretary-treasurer. Many from the region were also excited to welcome back Bob Bezpalko as Executive Director.
“I’m absolutely excited for the future of northeast Alberta. There are opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, and it is a matter of facing the challenges head-on and taking advantage of the opportunities that come forward,” said Aalbers.
Pulyk said he was also grateful to be involved with a dynamic group of forward-thinking leaders focused on the economic viability of the region.
One of nine regional economic development alliances in the province, Alberta Hub focuses on the northeast region, leveraging growth for urban and rural municipalities, businesses, and indigenous communities. The region has a total of 43 members and stretches from Thorhild to the City of Lloydminster, and Lac La Biche to Paradise Valley.
Aalbers said members of towns rural municipalities, cities, post-secondary institutions, and industry leaders, all work to try and foster growth within the region and ensure that information is passed along
“This group recognizes that scale matters in order to drive economic development for this region. We embrace development in any community within Alberta Hub Region understanding that in the big picture the entire region benefits. Most municipalities and businesses cannot afford to pursue these broad economic development efforts on their own. Participating in a Regional Economic Development group enables access to valuable metrics and information that can assist with attracting new opportunities for communities and businesses,” said Pulyk.
Executives said it is whether communities the size of Cold Lake, Kitscoty, or Derwent, executives stressed the importance of staying connected through such groups because whether it’s a business looking for a new home, or a community looking for investors; it allows information to be passed along and once regional connections are made, they said they have a way of benefiting all the players whether directly or indirectly.
“It’s like there is a pipeline continuously seeding new crops; some mature in one year, others in three or five years. Economic development are liaisons in each community acting on leads brought to their attention and getting people connected to the right people. We are constantly trying to plant, water and fertilize these new ideas, said Aalbers. “I’ve learned that economic development is not a one-day or even a one-year plan, it is a long-term plan. I truly believe being involved in Alberta HUB is worth it because we are going to get missed if we are not there; there are places in the world willing to take our investment. I hope to keep hearing from local businesses so that we understand business needs as best we can.”
Through membership contributions and government grants, Alberta HUB works to conduct strategic research, gap analysis, site selector and corporate investor queries for communities, as well as analyzing opportunities for export markets and attracting foreign direct investment. Pulyk said the regional collaboration efforts of this group helps to provide labour, internet and utilities, as well as transportation corridors, and rail information to potential investors and other government agencies.
Included in those trade routes, Alberta HUB has advocated the government the need for a second 24-hour port of entry along the United States / Alberta border to support ongoing trade and the movement of goods and services from northeastern Alberta to U.S. and Mexican markets. Currently, there is only one along Highway 36, but Alberta HUB would like to see the government increase service hours and accessibility at the one along Highway 41.
Pulyk added that Alberta HUB continues to address key issues in the hopes of enhancing economic development for the region. Examples of regional projects he said they are currently pursuing include carbon capture utilization storage, hydrogen potential, and unmanned aircraft research. For more information, you can visit https://albertahub.com/.