Like many Albertans, local MLA Nate Glubish has been taking a road trip, but he’s not just taking photos, he’s on a mission to make services better for all Albertans.
Nate Glubish, MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park and Minister of Service Alberta, is currently touring the province in order to meet with Alberta stakeholders and discuss the path forward on reducing obstacles that affect their lives.
The tour began on August 20 in Lloydminster and will wrap up on Sept. 4 in Mayerthorpe. In total, the minister will visit 37 different municipalities in Alberta. Just this week alone, he visited Hinton, Edson, Whitecourt, Valleyview, Wembley, Clairmont, Fairview, Peace River, Falher, High Prairie, Slave Lake, Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and St. Paul.
“As Minister of Service Alberta for the last four months I’ve been hearing from Albertans a lot on three specific topics,” Glubish told The News. “What I wanted to do was take some time and go all across the province and meet with folks in their home communities to continue having these conversations and listen to their unique concerns and challenges but also to listen to their suggestions on how to move forward on the most constructive solutions.”
The three issues that have been the focus of the tour are the expansion of broadband internet services to rural communities, streamlining registry services, and The Mobile Home Sites Tenancy Act. Glubish and the Service Alberta Ministry collaborated with local MLAs to gather together committees of people who were most interested in addressing these issues in their community.
On the broadband rural internet issue, Glubish has been connecting with local councillors, mayors, economic development associations, Chambers of Commerces, and local businesses who are affected by the issue. The hope is to find a collaborative way to improve internet services in remote communities.
“As we work to expand coverage to rural Alberta, it is going to be costly and it’s going to take time,” said Glubish. “It will need to be a collaboration between many, many stakeholders. As the provincial government what we’ll need to do is play a leadership role in charting that path forward.”
In order to address the issue of stagnant registry services, the ministry has been meeting with private registry owners, operators, and staff as well as local councillors. The goal of the talks is to find a way to deliver the best registry services possible by modernizing registration methods.
“In a day and age when Albertans can bank online on their mobile phone or computer, why can’t they also use their registry services through an online platform?,” proposed Glubish. “I want to make sure Albertans can deal with registries in their pajamas at home at midnight on the couch, not just waiting in line during bankers hours. Whatever we do to get there, we need to do so in collaboration with registries and not in competition.”
Glubish has also been talking to residents and community leaders from mobile home communities across the province.
“What we’ve been hearing from folks living in mobile home communities is that there is no dispute resolution service. If you’re a tenant in a traditional single-family home you have access to a residential dispute resolution service to deal with those issues in a timely and relatively cost-effective manner, but for residents in mobile home communities, their only option is to go to the courts, which can take a long time and cost a lot of money.”
The minister believes these talks have been successful so far.
“We’ve done our first week in southern Alberta and so far the feedback has been very positive. The reoccurring theme that we hear everywhere we go is: thank you. Folks are just so grateful to have a minister coming to their home community to talk to them on their home turf to ask them about what are the local nuances on these issues. There’s a spirit of gratitude,” noted Glubish.
When asked for a timeline on when action would be taken to address the concerns that prompted the tour, he hinted; “Stay tuned.”
“We’ve only been in government for four months — and two of those were in session,” Glubish explained. “This tour is a critical part to that strategy of making sure we have all the information we need. We’ve talked to people in communities all across the province and we’ve been listening to them. Once we’ve completed that exercise, we can move forward with building our strategies on these three very important issues and we’ll have a lot more to say about that in the months to come.”