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Signatures sought for Municipal Inspection petition

Posted on November 25, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

More signatures are needed for a petition for a municipal inspection.

The petition, which was launched by community group Citizens for a Better Coaldale, is to urge the Municipal Affairs Minister to launch a municipal inspection into the Town of Coaldale.

As of last Friday, Nov. 20, the group had 26 days left to get the needed signatures of 20 per cent of the town’s population, and Jack Van Rijn, a spokesperson for the group, said they are approaching the 85 per cent completion mark and need about 400 more people to sign.

“We’re having tremendous response from the citizens of Coaldale,” said Van Rijn. “Technically, we need approximately 400 (more), but we’re hoping to exceed that so we have a comfort zone.”

They are hoping to get more signatures than required, in case some of the signatures have to be thrown out for reasons such as incorrect addresses, misspelled names or illegibility once the petition get sent to the minister in Edmonton.

A municipal inspection aims to determine whether the municipality is being governed in an irregular, improper or improvident manner, and things that may trigger the inspection include fiscal improprieties, dysfunctional council or administration, toxic workplace and improperly awarded contracts.

? Turn to TOWN, 3 According to sec. 571(1) of the Municipal Government Act, a municipal inspection can be initiated on the minister’s initiative, by request of a council, or by petition from electors of the municipality constituting at least 20 per cent of the population.

The Town of Coaldale had declined a request in October to initiate a council-sponsored municipal review, and earlier this month, the town announced they were engaging a consultant to conduct a Workplace Culture Audit, which is ongoing until Dec 4.

After the town declined the request, CfaBC began a petition to have one done.

In addition to curb-side stops for people interested in signing, they have been going door-to-door while obeying COVID-19 measures and keeping everything sanitized. They had also been hosting open houses for people to sign the petition at, with the last one going Friday, Nov. 27 at the Coaldale Community Centre.

“We’re looking forward to getting this completed.”

They are also fundraising to help cover the costs involved with the petition, such as advertising, renting facilities and supplies.

“Even though our small group is covering expenses ourselves, there’s people that offered to support us, so we thought we might as well give them an avenue to do that,” said Van Rijn. “They’re very much in favour of what we are doing, so they want to help us in any way they can.”

Those interested or looking to find out more about the petition can visit CfaBC’s Facebook page, email coaldale.citizens@gmail.com or call Van Rijn at 403-382-0099.

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