NADC researched flax, geothermal, and advocated for broadband

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

The Northern Alberta Development Council 2018-19 annual report says it advocated for more broadband internet in the north; released a report of types of flax which will grow in the area (a food and fiber crop); and researched geothermal energy.

The NADC website says, “the Northern Alberta Development Council advances the promise of Alberta’s North.”

On the board, Ken Noskey from Peavine Métis Settlement, north of High Prairie is the representative for Lesser Slave Lake area. Jeannette Danks represents Peace River.

In July, the Alberta government announced the appointment of five other members to the NADC. The new members are two from Lac La Biche area, two from Grande Prairie, and one from Wood Buffalo/Fort McMurray.

The NADC started in 1963, says the NADC 2018-19 annual report, “The NADC was one of the recommendations from the 1958 Report of the Royal Commission on the Development of Northern Alberta. The report focused on the current and potential development of northern Alberta with regard to population trends, the extent, location, and market trends of natural resources, electrical power, transportation and communication requirements, and industrial and agricultural opportunities.”

Long-time Slave Laker, Dennis Barton was on the council for about five years in the late sixties.

“We had a budget back then for projects,” he says. “It was quite interesting.” Some of the projects included upgrading the airports in Slave Lake and High Prairie.

Another project was building a bridge in Red Earth Creek, and building a road from Trout Lake (at the time called Graham Lake) to Peerless Lake, because Graham Lake was a good size to land medical float planes. There was no road from Peerless Lake to the outside world.

Since the 1970s, there hasn’t been a budget for projects, says Barton. NADC has been an advisory council.

In 1971, Barton resigned from the NADC when he was elected as MLA for Lesser Slave Lake. Henry Sinclair, from Slave Lake, was the representative for many years.

The NADC serves a large geographic area.

NADC 2018-19 annual report says, northern Alberta has 8.9 per cent of Alberta’s population (350,000), but 60 per cent of the land mass. It includes land in Treaty 6, 8, and 10 which is divided into 150 communities. These are:

18 municipal districts

22 towns (including Slave Lake, High Prairie, and Peace River)

Nine villages (including Donnelly and Berwyn)

103 hamlets (including Marten Beach, Smith, Canyon Creek, Widewater, Wagner, etc.)

11 summer villages

Two cities (Cold Lake and Grande Prairie)

Three specialized municipalities (MacKenzie County, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, and Lac La Biche County)

Two improvement districts (ID No. 24 Wood Buffalo and ID N. 349)

Eight Métis settlements (including Peavine, East Prairie, and Gift Lake)

32 First Nations (including Sawridge, Swan River, Bigstone, Sucker Creek, Driftpile, Loon River, Trout-Peerless, etc.)

Map courtesy Government of Alberta

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