It was welcome news to read Coaldale’s petition for a Municipal Inspection was deemed “sufficient” by Rick McIver, Alberta’s minister for Municipal Affairs. It is the opinion of many Coaldale residents, the problems in our town go way beyond taxpayers not being satisfied with the job being done by their elected officials and town administration.
Hypothetically, if there is suspected wrong doing by a municipality, where do we as citizens have to turn for help? Why does it take such a costly and Herculean effort by a selfless band of citizen volunteers (securing over 2,000 signatures) to convince the minister something is seriously amiss? In some situations, waiting for the next Municipal Election is not the answer. Why aren’t their avenues for residents to file complaints about possible municipal wrong doing or abuse of authority? Whatever the outcome of our Municipal Inspection, it will provide clarity for what has taken place in Coaldale. I also believe some type of Municipal Inspection-like reviews, with citizen engagement, should be welcomed, encouraged and even mandatory – for every municipality halfway through their elected four-year terms.
Sometimes, the local residents sounding alarm bells about their municipalities are very knowledgeable and well-informed. So, I hope this is a wake-up call for our MLAs in Edmonton. Are you paying attention? Letters have been submitted to your ministerial colleagues for years without any meaningful follow-up except, “work with your local council.” When we feel our council is the problem, this is like being told, “go back to the abuser for more abuse.” For us, this seems like another case of provincial government officials ignoring pleas for help for years, then responding with too little, too late after the damage is done. It’s time to use your “ministerial discretion” Minister McIver. We urgently need your help, with meaningful action – now!
Grant Friesen, Coaldale