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Letter: Municipal governments should be subjected to questioning

Letter writer offers opinion on what Bill 20 changes could mean for town councils and residents

Re: Carstairs, Didsbury mayors oppose proposed changes to municipal autonomy

If there is an adult out there who doesn’t understand the mayors’ reluctance to embrace these changes, may I offer a humble opinion on what these changes could mean for town councils and residents.

1. Town councils will have to be more aware of how their decisions impact existing residents on a street by street basis and whether or not the decision is fair to them.

Didsbury Mayor Rhonda Hunter likes to take a larger view and use words such as community interests and in the public’s interest.

She speaks in terms of larger areas and populations because, in my view, what she says has a better chance of applying positively to somebody, especially if it’s said in general terms. And the residents who are negatively affected in specific terms are just a small segment of a larger population.

If the town council looked after the interests of residents on each street in the community they would be serving the best interests of the community better than they claim to be doing now.

2. The town office may be forced to adjust to a more democratic system of dealing with people and issues. For example – it may become more difficult to ignore the interests of small groups of residents in order to favour a developer or some ideology.

The residents will have access to provincial oversight that wants to ensure “transparency and fairness that the citizens of Alberta deserve.”

3. Towns could have to use a standardized accounting system which would make it easier for an oversight group to compare efficiencies of town offices. It would also make it easier to detect overpayments for materials, equipment and services provided to the town and areas where the town is not getting assessed value for the property it sells.

4. Residents who can’t or don’t properly vet council candidates will sometimes be saddled with one that is less than optimal - a group error in judgment perhaps. Through one of the proposed changes, residents may have recourse to a method of correcting an error.

Contrary to the opinions of the two mayors, the provincial legislature believes that these changes are needed.

I think that oversight of any government is absolutely necessary. The federal and provincial governments have opposition parties to at least raise questions. Municipal governments need to be subject to questioning as well, shouldn’t they?

Dave Noel,



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