Update on November 2021 Council Meetings
Since its organization meeting in late October, Council held two meetings. Here’s the highlights from those meetings.
Admin directed not to continue the appeal of sanctions’ decision
The best news from these two meetings is that the County’s appeal of the sanctions’ decision is dead. At its November 9th meeting Council held an in camera session to discuss the appeal. They came out of that session with no resolution. At the November 30th meeting, Councillor Hanson added an emergent item to the agenda for the new council to review the status of the county’s appeal of the sanctions against Councillors Hanson, Kissel, and Wright.
In response, Councillor Samra made a motion directing Administration to continue the appeal. Hanson, Kissel, and Wright recused themselves. Mayor Kochan stated that he would not support the motion because it has been a long drawn out affair and it was time to bring it to a close.
Samra and Kochan voted against the motion, while Councillors Boehlke and Schule voted to continue the appeal. Since motions require majority support for approval, the tie vote defeated the motion.
We understand why Hanson, Kissel, and Wright recused themselves – if the appeal continues, they will have to spend even more of their own money defending themselves. Given how loudly voters spoke when they re-elected Hanson, Kissel, and Wright and only two of the five councillors responsible for imposing the sanctions, it is particularly offensive that Boehlke and Schule are continuing to act in their own self-interest rather than in the best interest of county residents. It makes you wonder if they would be so keen on the appeal if they had to spend their own money rather than ours.
Motion to reinstate newspaper advertising fails
Wright and Hanson’s motion to reinstate advertising the County’s public notices in Rocky View Weekly failed on a 4 / 3 vote, with only Deputy Mayor Kissel supporting them.
Boehlke and Schule both did an admirable job laying on the bafflegab to confuse the issue, including repeatedly emphasizing that the current budget did not include the initiative while suggesting alternatives that almost certainly would be more costly.
Given that both Kochan and Samra supported communicating with residents through local newspaper advertising during the election campaign, we don’t understand why they didn’t support the motion. Since everyone on council agreed that the County needs a complete overhaul of its communication strategy, it defies understanding why the four were opposed to reinstating newspaper advertising as a short-term improvement. Interestingly, there was no follow-up motion directing Administration to prepare a new comprehensive communication strategy.
The County has not advertised any of its legally required public notifications in the newspaper since the spring of 2020. At this point, it doesn’t look like that will change in the foreseeable future. It would be interesting to have Administration verify that the County is fulfilling its legal obligations to reach “substantially all” potentially affected residents through its website notifications.
Motion to return to one-year terms ruled out of order
Kissel and Wright’s motion to return to one-year terms for the Mayor and committee chairs was ruled out of order after Boehlke raised a point of order. As a result, the issue was not discussed.
Boehlke insisted that the motion was out of order because it had been dealt with within the preceding six months. The County’s procedure bylaw provides discretionary authority for the Mayor, as chair of council, to rule a motion out of order if a similar motion was considered and voted on within the previous six months. The last council did extend the terms of office from one year to two years last July. However, with the new council it might have been reasonable to exercise discretion and reconsider the issue.
Cambridge Park “saga” continues – this time more favourably for residents
As many of you remember, one of the previous council’s most outrageous abuses of process was their handling of the land use redesignation for the fourth phase of the Cambridge Park residential development in Conrich. The developer is now requesting that the commercial / light industrial redesignation approved in July 2020 be amended to residential with a small component of local commercial.
Although this is a much more favourable outcome for the residents, the developer split the revised proposal between two applications, only one of which was part of the public hearing on November 30th. As a result, council referred the application back to Administration for staff to work with the developer and the community to return to council with one comprehensive proposal for Cambridge Park’s final phase.