By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor
At press time for this edition, the Connect learned Councillor John Chadi had passed away at the age of 62, after his long battle with cancer. Chadi was a Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Councillor for Ward 2, Fort Chipewyan from 1998-2008, and then re-elected in 2013. The day after he was sworn in as a councillor in October of 2013, Chadi found out that he had a rare bile duct cancer and that it was incurable.
The Connect will be doing a full story about Chadi, his life and his service to the RMWB in the coming week, but at this time we would like to extend our sincere condolences to John’s family and friends and his beloved community of Fort Chipewyan.
In a press release issued from the municipality on November 16, Mayor Melissa Blake shared, “Our thoughts and prayers are firmly with Cr. Chadi’s family as they mourn his passing following an incredible life lived in the service of his community,” said Mayor Blake. “John will be deeply missed by all of us and we can only hope his family finds peace at this sad and difficult time. On behalf of Council, I wish to express our sincerest condolences to Cr. Chadi’s family, friends and the entire community.”
The municipality further announced the flags at the Municipal buildings in Wood Buffalo had been lowered to half-mast out of respect to Councillor Chadi and his family.
In regards to the regular council meetings, the meeting scheduled for November 17 was rescheduled to November 18 due to the news of Councillor Chadi. The previous week’s November 10 meeting was also cancelled, after four full days of budget workshops.
The close to a billion dollar budget will be put to a final vote on December 8, but the process went smoothly and there should not be any delays or deferrals.
The regular meeting held on the November 18 had a full agenda with the biggest issue being a presentation from the Downtown Development committee. The committee was struck back in very late September with the sole purpose to come up with some ideas on how to successfully develop our downtown core.
On Tuesday, November 17, the committee came forward to ask for extension to January in order to do the work needed. The committee was given a very short amount of time with a huge mandate, so it’s no surprise that they are asking for an extension.
Another big item on the agenda is an amendment to the land use bylaw for land that is near Keyano College. A change in the zoning is needed in order for the college to move ahead with some future plans.
If passed, there could be developments there that include commercial space, offices, as well as, food and beverage services and entertainment facilities. The other thing that would change is the height of the buildings. Currently not standing taller than 12.2 metres, they could be increased to 54 metres tall (12 storeys).
A Land Planning and Transportation meeting was also held on Tuesday. This committee does not meet often, but deals with some big issues in Fort McMurray such as: when to do peak maintenance on the main roads, safety on our residential streets, and (on the agenda this time) fly-in, fly-out concerns. This meeting will be followed up in the November 26th edition of Connect in more detail.
In the community, many of the councillors and Mayor Melissa Blake attended the beautiful Remembrance Day Ceremony at MacDonald Island on November 11. Representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RMWB Bylaw, the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Fort McMurray Fire Department were some of the community groups in attendance. There was a wonderful representation from the youth in the committee by groups from the Scouts, Brownies, and the Army and Air Cadets.
– Connect Weekly –