Rocky View County (RVC) has stepped up its opposition to the Calgary Metropolitan Regional Board (CMRB).

Last week, the county council agreed to hire a consultant/lobbyist in an attempt to squash the board they believe a waste of taxpayers' dollars.

RVC also views the CMRB as detrimental to the autonomy and long-term sustainability of the county.

The advocacy follows the county's successful passing of a resolution at the 2019 Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention last fall. Nearly 90 per cent of the rural municipalities supported RVC's call to end mandatory membership in growth membership boards.

RVC Reeve Greg Boehlke says Alberta Municipal Affairs minister Kaycee Madu is studying the issue.

Boehlke believes this is the ideal time to get rid of the financial burden of the board, especially with crushing fiscal pressure on the provincial government. He says it's a drain on provincial coffers.

"This would have been one plug that the government could have put in quickly. When you look at the billions that they're borrowing to prop up services, the millions they're putting into this thing seems rather low and insignificant, but it's one step at a time."

Boehlke says seeking autonomy doesn't mean the county is opposed to working with neighboring municipalities.

"We are committed to being regional, but not being forced to being regional."

The move wasn't fully supported by all council members. Crystal Kissel, Samanntha Wright, and Kevin Hanson were opposed.

"I think there's got to be a better way," said Crystal Kissel, Division 9 Councillor. "I think we need to figure out how to work together better. I know council has discussed that, but I think just saying 'no more' is not where the future is." 

Division 8 Councillor Wright said the motion didn't address what she believes is important.

"It's not about disillusionment for me, it's about coming up with an adequate appeal mechanism. So I don't think that this motion is what I believe should be happening, so I won't be supporting it."

The Town of Cochrane is firmly in support of the CMRB.

Mayor Jeff Genung is its vice-chairman. He previously expressed frustration in RVC's unwillingness to allow the board's role to fully unfold.

"We need to have a real discussion about how to work together, what the makeup of the board is, and how it’s going to work. How does Rocky View County know that we wouldn’t support a lot of their initiatives? We’ve never been given that opportunity."

"I hope that we find a way, and we make a plan that is great for the entire region. Then, when the plan is in place, we can start working on things that we can all benefit from."

The county has long opposed the need for mandatory membership into a Calgary region planning body.