By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coaldale town council has approved the creation of an official committee focused on animal wellness.
Back in March 2022, Council had directed Municipal Enforcement to research a made-in-Coaldale option for animal control and wellness agency, as they did not have an animal facility contract, and an ad hoc committee was formed to look for a solution for animal control and wellness in town. The goal of the committee is to create a Coaldale facility where people can access a variety of animal services, from animal control to veterinary to a human society.
Coaldale Mayor Jack Van Rijn had reached out to surrounding municipalities for documentation on forming a society, MOU’s and operational information. This documentation will reduce the work necessary for the formation of a society, build consistency between Coaldale and surrounding communities within animal wellness societies and build strong partnerships. However, documentation shared with the Town is subject to FOIP regulations and may only be shared with members of an official committee of Council. This mean there is now issues about sharing the information they’ve gathered with members of the committee.
“We’ve gathered a fair amount of information to move forward with. At this point, though, our animal wellness committee is an ad hoc committee, it’s not an official committee of town council, which has now brought us to the point were it limits our ability to share the information we have gathered with members of that committee, because it’s not a sanctioned committee of council,” said Mark Anderson, manager of community policing for the town, speaking at Coaldale town council’s regular March 13 meeting. “We can’t share information we gather in an official capacity with anyone who is not in an official capacity with the town.”
Anderson asked that council makes the Animal Wellness Committee an approved and sanctioned committee of the town. It would allow for them to invite the community members who joined and partnered with the committee to be members of the committee, and engage them in confidentiality agreements which will allow the town to share the information that has been gathered with committee members. That information can then be used to create an Animal Wellness Society, and move forward with plans regarding animal control in town. Anderson said it would not stop them if the town chooses otherwise, but it will greatly lengthen the process.
The other benefit, however, would be the town taking the first steps in turning it into a citizen, community-driven program, rather then one driven by administration or municipal enforcement. Anderson said this would split up the enforcement and wellness components, allowing each to “focus on their best task”.
Council unanimously passed a motion to approve the Animal Wellness Committee as an official Town of Coaldale council committee, and that council appoint Coun. Lisa Reis to be on the committee.
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