Spotlight: New executive director has plans for council
Cathy Goulet wants to see growth in the northern part of this province, and the new executive director of the Northern Alberta Development Council is in a position to do that.
Goulet, who took on her new role April 2, has spent much of her career in Northern Alberta doing economic regional development work. This was followed by a temporary provincial government assignment in Edmonton.
“When the opportunity came up to come up north again, I grabbed it,” Goulet says of her present position.
The mandate of the NADC, which covers 60 per cent of the province but only nine per cent of Alberta’s population, is to promote growth in Northern Alberta via conferences, reports and partnerships with various stakeholders, including industry, not-for- profit groups, municipalities, and other development groups.
Such partnerships, she says, prevent duplication of efforts and services and also build on each organization’s strengths in accomplishing that mandate, Goulet notes.
“The best way to get work done is to work collaboratively with those other groups,” she says.
“There are a lot of things to be concerned with,” states Goulet, adding the three main challenges are the growth pressures on the area’s physical and social infrastructure, the shortage of skilled workers, and economic diversification.
“Our mandate is broad, but it is creating a stronger north,” Goulet notes, adding there are key strategies to do that but the council tries to stay targeted on the aforementioned challenges.
“We engage with communities and groups and ensure we provide the best possible information and resources we can to the council and northern communities.”
While many people associate Alberta with oil and gas, Goulet says it’s only one area with which NADC is concerned, with tourism, forestry and agriculture being others.
When it comes to oil and gas, there are a couple of important questions, she notes.
“Are we developing the industry in a way that’s going to provide the best benefit for Alberta?” Goulet asks, adding it’s also important to look at the new things companies are doing.
“How do we support those innovations?”
Goulet, who is based in Peace River, says she enjoys being in a more rural setting.
“I’m happy to be back breathing this Northern air.”
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