A new organization is taking over where the Pembina Valley Development Corporation left off.
The Pembina Valley Reeves and Mayors (PVRAM) will fill the void left by the Pembina Valley Development Corporation and ensure regional concerns like regional health amalgamations, pesticide bans and Highway 75 closures are brought to the table.
“Our province seems to be able to divide and conquer, and we will simply not let that happen in the Pembina Valley region,” Winkler Mayor Martin Harder explained.
“We want to act as one voice, not as a lobby group but as a support group, to draw the attention of our politicians south … no longer are we prepared to sit idly by without a voice, even though our government has silenced the PVDC.”
The new executive is made up of Rhineland RM Reeve Don Wiebe, Morris RM Reeve Ralph Groening as vice chairs and Harder as chair.
The group’s first meeting is with Health Minister Theresa Oswald, discussing the lack of physicians in the area, though Harder explained they’re not there to complain but rather provide solutions and suggestions.
PVRAM will also not be looking for government funding to run the organization.
“We’re not going away,” Harder said. “We’re coming back stronger than before.”
After more than 40 years of operation, the Pembina Valley Development Corporation ceased operation last year when the provincial government pulled its funding of the handful of regional development corporations in the province.
The provincial funding, supplemented by both membership fees by the more than a dozen municipal members of the PVDC and revenue generating projects, enabled the PVDC to operate successfully for many years.
The PVDC employed a small staff out of its Altona office, and its activities were guided by a board of directors appointed by municipal members.
Among the PVDC’s many activities was lobbying on regional issues, assisting individual members, conducting studies and surveys, responding to requests for information about the region and providing information and assistance to both new and existing businesses.