Question Period features questions about Lesser Slave tourism

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Any publicity is good publicity, they say, so it should come as good news that ‘Lesser Slave Lake’ came up several times at the Alberta Legislature recently.

The occasion was question period, and the initiator was Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn. Rehn rose three times and asked questions of his minister colleagues. One was about plans for Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park development; one was about support for tourism generally and the third one had to do with Indigenous tourism specifically.

On the park, Rehn said it’s hard to increase tourism when the park is in an “undeveloped state.” Does the department have plans to further develop the park?

Responding, Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon sounded pretty confident in saying ‘yes,’ there are plans. He mentioned having recently discussed the issues with Slave Lake town council (that would have been at the AUMA conference the same week). He said an agreement on park management with the town “is well on its way to being completed.”

Rehn’s next question was to the Minister of Indigenous Relations. What kind of supports are in place to help Indigenous communities increase tourism, Rehn asked.

Minister Rick Wilson seemed less sure of himself or his material than Nixon did. In fact he didn’t have anything specific to offer Rehn, mentioning only that ‘there are lots of opportunities up there,’ and that he’s looking forward to meeting with the Indigenous tourism association.

Rehn’s third question was for the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer. It was more or less the same as the first question – about developing the tourism economy around the lake.

Schweitzer’s response: We’ve put an additional $20 million into Travel Alberta, and we’re interested in shovel-ready projects. Happy to put the Slave Lake folks in touch with Travel Alberta.

As one town councillor said about the interaction, it’s not much, but it’s a start.

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