We have heard back from the Minister of Municipal Affairs about the petition. While it isn't good news, we can't say we are all that surprised. Minister Madu has decided not to come in and do an inspection. The Ministry is always reluctant to step in unless they are forced to do so. The MGA outlines rules around petitions and without signatures from 20% of the population, we had to hope he would set those rules aside and exercise his discretion; he has not.
That said, the last thing any of us should do is lose faith. The petition may not have resulted in an inspection, but it was a great success on many other levels.
Residents should be able to count on a local government that is responsive to their concerns. The petition put Council on notice that there are at least 4,580 residents (all voters) who are very unhappy with the way things are being handled. That message was heard loud and clear from those who signed the petition. Over half of those reached had a story to tell about negative experiences dealing with the County. Others were frustrated about a lack of infrastructure (such as schools and proper roads) despite continued approval of large-scale developments. Being aware of these concerns allows us to advocate for better governance on behalf of many residents.
Another common concern was the limited information residents receive about County matters. While the local newspapers do their part, many residents don't even receive them. This leaves a huge hole for residents to learn about Council decisions, County open houses and meetings, and upcoming applications. In our opinion, this is something that councils have preyed upon for decades. Shining light on what’s happening in the County and helping residents be aware of what's going on in their community is why Rocky View Forward exists.
Most importantly, there is no doubt that the petition put Rocky View County on the Minister's radar. With some help from you, we can keep it there. If you have concerns about issues in the County, please send a letter to the Minister outlining your concerns (email@example.com).
This would not be complete without repeating our gratitude to the over 100 volunteers who worked so hard to get the 4,580 signatures. In a county as big as Rocky View that was no easy feat and everyone should be proud.