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HIGH LEVEL, AB, MAY 18, 2021 – Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level are celebrating the completion of the First Nation – Municipal Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI).
The celebration was attended by elected officials and staff from both communities and hosted over Zoom due to current Alberta health restrictions. CEDI program completion certificates were presented to Chief James Ahnassay and Mayor Crystal McAteer on behalf of their communities.
“Our partnership has come a long way in our mutual respect and understanding of each other. It is very exciting as we begin to see the benefits of our hard work, such as the waterline to Bushe, the Emergency Response Plan and the Multi-purpose facility. Through continued communication and transparency, I believe both our communities will be successful in the years to come.” – Mayor Crystal McAteer
“I thank the Town of High Level for joining with Dene Tha’ First Nation in the CEDI partnership initiative in 2018. Both of the partners had no idea at the start of the partnership initiative that we were going to be facing the largest fire since the 1950’s and then by the pandemic. These two natural disasters highlighted the need for and the benefits of creating a regional partnership that can make a difference when unforeseen disaster hits the area. The two natural events caused tremendous hardships on our populations and no one want to see these things happening anywhere but it happens whether we like it or not. Having a friendship agreement will give us the forum through which we can “improve the economic prosperity” of the partners, work together on preparing for possible future natural disasters, and any other activities that will enhance our joint efforts.” – Chief James Ahnassay
CEDI is a national program delivered jointly by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando). The partnership is one of nine partnerships (out of 90+ applicants) participating in the CEDI program between 2016 – 2021 from across Canada.
Since 2018, the Dene Tha’ communities of Meander River, Chateh, and Bushe River have worked with the Town of High Level to build and strengthen the inter-community relationships, and to build capacity for joint community economic planning and development. The CEDI program provided the partnership with third-party neutral facilitation, monthly Working Group and sub-committee meetings, bi-annual workshops, and joint strategic and work planning design.
Over the past three years, the Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level partnership has established a Working Group that includes elected officials and staff and meets monthly. This Working Group has identified shared priorities and advanced three joint initiatives, including:
• A waterline connection between Town of High Level and Bushe River and a feasibility study for wastewater infrastructure at Bushe River
• A joint emergency plan for the four communities, and
• A multi-purpose facility.
The partnership has also drafted a Friendship Agreement and Joint Strategic Plan to help to guide the partnership over the coming years.
Dene Tha’ First Nation and Town of High Level look forward to engaging their communities in this partnership in the coming months and years, which has been limited due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions.