Permitting complaints may lead to investigation

Wetaskiwin county council is reaching out to the Alberta Association Of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) to see...

Wetaskiwin county council is reaching out to the Alberta Association Of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) to see how safety permitting is being done across the province, following multiple complaints council received for its sole sourcing safety codes contract with Superior Safety Codes Inc.

While council refused to hold a public hearing on the matter it did invite complainants Gary Rode, Gilbert Hurtubise and Denis Laveck to its April 14 meeting to voice their shared unhappiness.

All three are displeased the county receives 40 per cent of the revenue created by permits issued by Superior Safety Codes Inc. They, along with Coun. Larry McKeever, feel taking the 40 per cent is a kickback for the county.

“I am opposed. The county works for the ratepayers, not the other way around,” said Hurtubise. He feels the county residents should be the ones benefiting from the 40 per cent and have the money taken off their permit price at the beginning of the process.

McKeever says while he supports sole sourcing, as it does have its benefits, he realizes county residents are being forced into using a specific safety permit company. “We’re forcing someone to do something and getting money back after.”

The cost of the permits were also recently increased and the county is breaking even on its development permits. “I would really like us to investigate this,” said McKeever.

“We’re in a three year contract and I will stand by that,” said Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers. She added once the contract is due council can look a going back to the old system if that is what the ratepayers want.

Concerns brought to council by Rode, Hurtubise and Laveck, around what the county requires for permitting and what Superior Safety Codes requires, as well as why the company is charging enough to give back the 40 per cent has council asking some new questions about the state of permitting across Alberta. If council is not satisfied from what they get from AAMDC McKeever wants council to go to the provincial government for an investigation into the matter.