Councillor files breach of governance

By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor

Two documented cases of people climbing the Weather Catcher at Jubilee Plaza have been reported to date. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Two documented cases of people climbing the Weather Catcher at Jubilee Plaza have been reported to date. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Councillor Sheldon Germain filed a breach of governance regarding the Conklin multiplex. Germain is concerned the plans do not include a nursing station, or a police station or police or bylaw offices. During a half hour interview on the local radio program, Germain said he felt the proper information was not presented when council was debating and then voting on the complex.

In the Conklin Operating projection report, it shows there are 14 office spaces, and it states the operating budget will be an estimated $1.8 million a year. This does not include the cost of building the facility. Also, it is projected there would be five drop-in users a day, and the municipality would lease or rent the office space.

Councillor Germain said he filed the grievance because it was a matter of integrity and that – when the decision to build the facility was made – council was led to believe the RCMP area and the nursing station were a part of the plan.

Two days later on the same program, Mayor Melissa Blake said it was not a governance issue. Mayor Blake said there is not a secure deal that includes lease or rental agreements for any of the space in the proposed multiplex, and she felt it may be why some on council may feel discouraged with the process.

Mayor Blake went on to say the governance elements were all met. The important thing for the Mayor was “if you have the space, then you find a way to use the space.”

Councillor Jane Stroud said she went over the design with engineering late last week, and there are 14 office spaces that will be available within the multiplex to be leased or rented, as well as, classroom training space. Stroud said a promise was a promise and the residents have been engaged in this process since the beginning, and they see the need for it in their community.

“Residents from babies, to elders, have made the 300 kilometre round-trip from Conklin when this has been on the agenda,” said Stroud, who has heard from residents who think it is their turn to have some of the municipal money being spent on resources for their community.

Stroud went on to say the municipality is currently installing and upgrading water and sewer as fast as they physically can do it to the areas, as well.

CEO of the Conklin Resource Development Advisory Committee, Jeffrey O’Donnell, feels there might have been a communication breakdown because, as far as he knows, there has been no scope change.

“The recreation corp was given the initial engagement with the public, council and the community and then once that was done, the concept went back to the RMWB for design and construction, and I think when it all went back and forth like that there was some confusion, and really, I don’t think they are operating on a business plan,” said O’Donnell.

“The recreation corp was given the initial engagement with the public, council and the community and then once that was done, the concept went back to the RMWB for design and construction, and I think when it all went back and forth like that there was some confusion, and really, I don’t think they are operating on a business plan,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell has asked the municipality to come out to talk to his committee, and has sent invitations to Councillor Germain to come to his community to see the needs, and to also talk to members working in the community, like the current nurse who provides some office hours.

“I wish Councillor Germain would come down and see how many people are here, we have a huge shadow population. I have asked him on three separate occasions to come down, to even engage during the public engagement sessions. Under the Municipal government act it states that as a councillor you have to consider the welfare and interests of the municipality as a whole, and to bring to council’s attention anything that would promote the welfare or interests of the municipality. So it’s frustrating that we have asked this councillor to come and engage and he hasn’t,” said O’Donnell.

The two newer RCMP facilities in Fort McMurray were paid for by the municipality, and much of the industrial tax revenue that the municipality takes in comes from the rural districts.

“We have always understood that there is an office for the nurses to conduct their services, because that’s the way it is now. We have had multiple engagement sessions with the municipality and the rec corp since 2012, it has gone to council several times, and was approved. My community recently made an expensive trip when Councillor Germain put this on the agenda again, as many traveled to speak to the motion, and then it was withdrawn. And that frustrated us, as it felt that we were being silenced,” added O’Donnell.

The breach of governance is being reviewed by the legal department, and will be presented at an upcoming council meeting. The proposed facility has an estimated cost of $50 million.

– Connect Weekly –