Coaldale residents are growing increasingly frustrated with Town of Coaldale governance and unanswered allegations of Town wrongdoing. Residents have recurring concerns about lack of public engagement, poor transparency, and communication along with dismissive and defensive attitudes toward attempts at public input and dialogue.
Why does the Town of Coaldale keep pursuing a High School/Rec Centre location for northwest Coaldale when it has clearly been advised that this area is not recommended for development by storm water engineers and professional traffic planners? This site will cost millions of extra taxpayer dollars for school bussing and highway crossing infrastructure. Why is this being ignored? What’s more, why does the Town of Coaldale keep pursuing this undesirable northwest location when this is passionately NOT Coaldale residents’preferred location?
Why has the Town of Coaldale secretively sold the other Town-owned potential high school sites through private unadvertised sales to specific developers, while ignoring other potential purchasers who may have paid higher prices to the Town? Why did the Town sell the 21 acre Barb and Corne Martens property to a private developer when the Town promised the Martens family this would not happen?
Why did the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre also feel deceived, misled, manipulated, and coerced by the Town into supporting the town annexation plans about the same northwest Coaldale lands (the future high school site) against its will? Why didn’t Coaldale Mayor Kim Craig disclose allegations of Town administration wrongdoing about the future High School/Rec Centre site to Coaldale Town Council?
Why were the development plans for a new multi-million-dollar town office not widely promoted to Coaldale residents? During these difficult financial times is a new extravagant town office really urgent or even justified when the current town office functions just fine?
Why is the town routinely circumventing its own Public Participation Policy for major capital projects? Why hasn’t the Town of Coaldale consulted residents asking them for approval on spending millions of their tax dollars on a new multi-million-dollar town office building or the northwest Coaldale location for a new High School/Rec Centre?
Despite residents having stated their recreation facility priority was a new pool or sheet of ice, why did the Town instead forge ahead with a plan for a new indoor gymnasium-type space to be attached to a new school that isn’t even in the budget cycle? Why hasn’t the town tried to acquire additional funding through other donations or sponsorships like most other communities across Alberta to help with the capital costs?
Why did the town ignore years of numerous allegations of abusive treatment by Town management toward Town employees? Why did the Town refuse to take any action until a terminated employee publicly expressed concerns by posting a video on social media out of personal desperation?
Are these concerns the reason why Coaldale Town Council adamantly refuses a Municipal Inspection of the Town? Many Coaldale residents feel there is systemic problem of manipulative town administration decision making and a coverup by Coaldale Town Council. A Municipal Inspection will provide answers to these questions and many other concerns by Coaldale residents.
Jack Van Rijn
Editor’s Note: For the Town of Coaldale’s response to many of the allegations made here by Jack Van Rijn and Citizens for a Better Coaldale, we encourage our readers to review a series of articles published in the Sunny South News that address a number of these issues, including “Concerns raised over sales of Coaldale town property” (Nov. 3, Page 4), “Coaldale group starts petition to force Municipal Inspection” (Oct. 27, Page 4), “Coaldale council declines request for Municipal Inspection” (Oct. 20, Page 1), “Group starting petition for inspection of Coaldale operations, administration” (Oct. 13, Page 14), “Interest increases for Coaldale Municipal Inspection” (Oct. 13, Page 1), “Coaldale Council tables inspection request” (Oct. 6, Page 8), and “Coaldale citizens group makes Municipal Inspection request” (Oct. 6, Page 1). Other articles covering the Civic Square and high school/rec centre location issues were published in the June 25, Feb. 11, July 11, July 21, Sept. 8, Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 editions of SSN.