Fort McKay Métis President Ron Quintal, announced Monday that he would not be seeking election within the RMWB government.
He will be keeping his role as the spokesperson for the rural coalition.
“At this point I feel the best way to represent the concerns of my community, as well as those of all the rural communities of the RMWB, is to remain in my current role as spokesperson of the Rural Coalition,” said Quintal. “Since last year we have been able to make incredible strides, but we’re not done yet.”
The Rural Coalition is a grassroots collective of all of the rural communities of the RMWB who have united under one banner, in the interest of better advocating for their communities.
The coalition also has representation from each of the Metis, First Nation and non-indigenous communities in the rural areas of the RMWB.
“Since forming just over a year ago, the Rural Coalition has been able to change the lives of the rural residents of the RMWB,” said Quintal. “Not only did we save the Conklin Multiplex, a vital facility for a community desperately under-funded by the municipality, but we also helped secure over $300 million for rural water and sewer projects in the 5 southern hamlets of the RMWB. This is something that we have been waiting 22 years for.”
Rural residents of the RMWB have been facing problems surrounding the lack of basic water and sewer services for a long time.
“Many residents in Fort McMurray don’t realize that their rural neighbours do not receive piped water and sewer,” said President of the Willow Lake Community Association in Anzac, Darryl Woytkiw. “That is of course, until the Rural Coalition was formed. Now our residents are no longer treated like second class citizens.”
Water is now trucked in and sewer trucked out, however there are growing concerns even with this method. Woytkiw claims the water isn’t even approved by the Alberta Ministry of the Environment since they only approve of closed source to tap systems.
“It was unbelievable that in 2017, in Canada’s richest municipality, that we still had rural residents using outhouses. We are so glad that the RMWB and the Rural Coalition have been able to work so well together to make these much needed changes.”
The Rural Coalition will continue working with the new mayor and council. Some of the issue they plan on reviewing with the next municipal government include a review of the 1995 amalgamation agreement, the rural investment deficit and implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“We are inviting any candidate in the RWMB election, rural or urban, mayor, council or school board to contact us about cooperating,” said Quintal. “The issues rural residents face are large, we have to work together to overcome them.”
Residents of the RMWB go to the polls on Oct 16.