WHITEHORSE—The findings of the Our Towns, Our Future review were released today at the 2011 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Yukon Communities (AYC) in Haines Junction. More than 100 delegates, including mayors and councillors of all eight Yukon municipal governments and many of the local advisory councils, were on hand to discuss the findings and hear the Government of Yukon’s commitment to action.
“When we set out on the review process a year ago I was confident that Our Towns, Our Future would be one of the most important initiatives in recent years for municipal governments in Yukon,” Minister of Community Services Archie Lang said. “The findings provide a path forward that I believe will lead toward a more sustainable future for our Yukon communities. I am excited about the possibilities and Yukon government is prepared to take action.”
In responding to the findings report presented by the Our Towns, Our Future review committee chair, Lang took the opportunity to announce some of the more significant actions that Yukon government is prepared to advance including:
- Assuming responsibility for emergency response services in rural Yukon municipalities in order to lessen the burden on municipalities and provide for more emergency response coverage across rural Yukon.
- Continuing to increase Comprehensive Municipal Grants and committing to a seamless transition to a new five-year program in 2013-14.
- Establishing Community Development Teams to work closely with local governments to tackle regional issues like service delivery and economic development.
- Establishing a regular interval for reviewing the Municipal Act and initiating the next review in 2011-12.
The report includes 18 themes and more than 75 findings that will be further discussed at an upcoming summit of municipal leaders and Government of Yukon officials. A set of joint recommendations will be formed to address each of the findings presented.
“The Association of Yukon Communities is proud to be a part of the review process and we look forward to moving on with the findings that have been presented by the committee,” AYC President Bev Buckway said. “The minister has demonstrated that Yukon is ready to take action and I look forward to working with our membership to provide practical and realistic recommendations that will benefit all Yukon communities. Our municipal employees and leaders are prepared to tackle the challenges ahead in order to shape a bright future for our communities.”
The Our Towns, Our Future review was launched at the 2010 AYC AGM in response to Yukon municipalities’ concerns about funding levels, provision of local services, infrastructure deficits, recruitment and retention and other matters. The review committee set out to find innovative and cost effective ways to support strong and sustainable communities and provide Yukon government, AYC and municipal leaders with information that would lead to a more sustainable future.
“Yukon will continue to collaborate with AYC and municipal governments to address the findings, develop recommendations and proceed with the next steps,” Lang added. “Our collective action will lead to long-term sustainability and bring real benefits to Yukon citizens and communities.”
The Our Towns, Our Future review was led by senior members of Yukon government, representatives from the Association of Yukon Communities and municipalities in Yukon.
For more information and to see the Our Towns, Our Future Findings Report, please visit www.community.gov.yk.ca.