Election campaign donation motion defeated

By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor

Councillor Tyran Ault

Councillor Tyran Ault

Mayor and council met to go over a full agenda, once again, on September 8 (Watch meeting online).

Sharon Heading led the delegation for the Municipal Public Art Policy review, which was first up on the agenda. The policy is in place to help promote art and tourism in the region. They have participated in the Street Banner Contest and the Graffiti Abatement Wall.

Council approved that the policy be extended until January of 2017, and a large public art piece will be installed in the community next year. The committee is looking at a location on MacDonald Drive. Councillor Sheldon Germain would like if the committee would look at cost effective ways to highlight our historical features, and he likes the idea of using community pictures as wraparounds on smaller structures throughout our region.

Germain would like to see more “bang for their buck” on artwork, and that the money not be spent on structures like the weather catcher.

Administration next brought the recommendation that the bid for the 2017 Alberta 55 Plus Games be declined. Councillor Lance Bussieres wanted to know if administration had engaged with the Seniors Resource Committee (SRC) or the Golden Years Society to find out if there was interest among local seniors.

Administration said that they sent an email to the groups saying that they were recommending that the event not be held. Councillor Jane Stroud said she was a volunteer during the last games, held in 2003, and said it was a good event for our older population. Germain would like to know if holding these Games would be a good boost for our local economy.

Councillor Keith McGrath thought money could be spent on worse things, and said the timing is good for the community.

Councillor Keith McGrath thought money could be spent on worse things, and said the timing is good for the community. Bussieres made a motion that administration take the next week to engage local seniors groups and bring more information back to council about the costs of the Games. Bussieres said there would be groups at council to speak to it when it was back on the agenda on September 15. It was estimated that about 1,800 people would attend the Games.

Administration also recommended not going ahead with a bid for the 2018 Alberta Summer and/or Winter Games. McGrath said since we are fresh out of the Summer Games, the staff and facilities would be ready to handle these smaller games if they were held in Fort McMurray.

Councillor Phil Meagher agreed and said there would be less work for staff and was worried about not using the venues we have now. It was estimated there would be 2800 participants, and it was voted that administration should go ahead with preparing the bid. Council also unanimously voted to bid to host the 2020 Communities in Bloom symposium, which would coincide with the 25th anniversary of the municipality.

The last item on the agenda was a motion Councillor Tyran Ault put forward at the August 25th meeting. The embodiment of the motion was, if passed, the councillors and Mayor would no longer take donations from trade unions or corporations for their election campaigns.

Ault said that in the last few elections, over $200,000 was donated to candidates, mainly to incumbent candidates. And while Ault said the candidates may not be influenced in their decisions by those who make the donations to their campaigns, he said the public perception of it is still there.

Ault said that in the last few elections, over $200,000 was donated to candidates, mainly to incumbent candidates. And while Ault said the candidates may not be influenced in their decisions by those who make the donations to their campaigns, he said the public perception of it is still there.

Ault hoped that if the motion passed it would return elections to the grassroots. Councillors Allan Vinni also spoke for the motion. Councillors Colleen Tatum and Germain and Mayor Melissa Blake all spoke about how expensive campaigns are, and Tatum said that she thought if the motion passed it would be harder for people to run in elections if they had to rely on paying for the campaigns themselves. The motion was defeated with only Ault, Vinni and McGrath voting in favour.

– Connect Weekly –