COUNTY OF WETASKIWIN OPPOSITION TO COUNCIL DECISIONS

  • May. 13, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Pipestone Flyer

A series of meetings were held at Angus Ridge, Mulhurst Bay, Lakedell, and Alder Flats to seek support for a petition to force Wetaskiwin County to hold a recreational needs assessment before committing a second two million dollars toward the building of the regional aquatic centre in Wetaskiwin.  Attendance at the meetings ranged from 12 to 22 with a total of about 70.  Rick Southern, from Westerose in Division 5, addressed the meetings, elaborating upon the content of his power point presentation, part of which was based upon the March 25, 2010 “Straight Facts” Report by the County, part of which gives some indication of how he was conscripted to be the front man for opposition to additional funding for the recreation facility.  

Both Southern’s presentation and the County’s information release, “Municipal Sustainability Initiative Grant Program Update,” published May 11 – 12, focus on the MSI grants which were initiated for the period 2007 to 2017, but which changes in the provincial government could alter.  Because of possible changes in MSI funding, the County Strategic Plan for the MSI grants only extends to 2013 and is contingent upon receiving the continued grants.  The use of MSI funds are basically limited to projects which have a long term impact such as capital projects.  MSI funds can NOT be used for ongoing expenses such as operating budgets or salaries.  I had considered looking at some of the broader finance issues raised at the meetings, but have realized that to do so would be nit-picking and ignoring the real issue.

Webster`s Canadian Dictionary and Thesaurus 2004 edition gives one definition of spin as, “an emphasis or slant imparted to information, proposals or policies.“  Facts and figures do not lie, but they can certainly be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, even in directly opposite ways.  Spin is very difficult to report on, especially when my own bias is directly opposite to that of the presenter and his cohorts.  That said, let’s consider how parts of the presentation reveal the real issue.

The fifth screen on the power point had two bullets reading:

*”On March 13, 2011, it came to my attention that County Council was going to vote on a resolution to give an additional 2 million dollars in MSI funding to the City of Wetaskiwin for the proposed aquatic centre.

”I contacted several county residents and community groups to advise them of this and no one had heard of this taking place.”

Southern said that he received a phone call telling him of the resolution and asking him to find a delegation to bring to the meeting which would vote upon the resolution.  Who phoned him?  

Of course no one knew of this taking place.  People do not normally follow the actions of their duly elected council closely enough to be aware of this type of normal resolution.

The last screen of the power point had two bullets reading:

*”By being here today, it shows me that you are concerned about the spending and lack of public consultation that the County of Wetaskiwin has done and want them to stop the dealing behind closed doors.

*”It is a shame that we had to do this when in fact it is the County’s duty and responsibility to act in our best interest.”

The first bullet mentions three issues: spending, lack of consultation, and dealing behind closed doors.  Without incurring debt and because it had its long range plans in place, the County of Wetaskiwin was able to take full advantage of the federal and provincial economic stimulus funds which became available during the economic downturn.  Therefore, it has been able to complete ahead of schedule a number of the items which were in the long range plan.  That is good governance and good financial management.

The normal ongoing consultation process is accomplished through direct individual contacts between the duly elected representatives and the interested parties in their divisions.  There is no indication of actual lack in consultation.

All County of Wetaskiwin Council meetings are public meetings with all discussion held in public.  The County has no private discussion meetings to prepare for the public meetings, as do some other councils and boards.

Finally, one may well ask what makes this group think that they have to do this, and why do they imply that the County is not acting in the best interest of the County as a whole.  In my opinion, the majority of the County of Wetaskiwin Council is, indeed, acting in our best interest!

As can be seen,the real issue regards the principles of governance in a democracy.  Is a democracy governed by the majority decisions of our duly elected representatives, or is it governed by a process of petitions and referendums instigated by an oppositional minority    Before nomination papers had to be filed for the election last fall, the City and County of Wetaskiwin jointly held a presentation for prospective candidates.  One of the points made about governance was this:  when the majority of the members of a board or council have made a decision, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL MEMBERS OF THAT BOARD OR COUNCIL TO PULL TOGETHER AND SUPPORT THAT MAJORITY DECISION.  If the oppositional members of the County of Wetaskiwin Council recognized and followed this fundamental principle, these meeting would never have been held, and a lot of time and effort would not have been wasted.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin cases rapidly climbing

City of Wetaskiwin reporting 11 active cases of COVID-19

Photo submitted/ Rita-anne Fuss
Distancing Diamond Project in Millet for mental health

Distancing Diamonds allow for social distancing community gathering.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

The death of 19-year-old Jacob Michael Chitze of Edmonton has now been ruled a homicide following an ongoing RCMP investigation.
UPDATE: RCMP arrest youth for second degree murder of 19-year-old Jacob Chitze

Arrest made for the murder of Jacob Michael Chitze, 19.

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Alberta’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The Alberta government is hoping to get more Albertans employed by moving to limit the number and type of temporary foreign workers it allows into the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta to limit temporary foreign worker program to save jobs for Albertans

Temporary foreign workers already in the province won’t be affected

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

Ceremony marks 64th anniversary of Hungarian revolution, honours settlers

Submitted
Montana First Nations councillor gives back to youth

By Chevi Rabbit For Ponoka News Reggie Rabbit is a newly elected… Continue reading

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Most Read