Despite hopes that a recent judgement by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta would bring conflict between Rocky View County councillors to an end, the situation continues to develop. We hoped Justice James Eamon's decision would put a period at the end of the drawn-out sentence, but with council directing County administration to file a Notice of Appeal, it looks like the matter will remain ongoing.
The saga has already been protracted. To remind you of the timeline, sanctions were imposed on Couns. Kevin Hanson, Crystal Kissel and Samanntha Wright in June 2019. Two months later, in August, the trio filed their application for a judicial review, which was originally supposed to be heard in the fall but was delayed until January of this year. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control – namely, a global pandemic – a decision on the matter originally anticipated to be delivered by March didn’t arrive until a few weeks ago.
We anticipate the appeal process will be equally drawn out. By the time the court’s judgment was delivered, several of the sanctions had already expired in June; likely, another batch will expire in October before the appeal concludes.
Councillors on both side of this issue have claimed repeatedly that they want to put the matter to bed and move on. Unfortunately, that is not evidenced in their actions. The court's decision presented an opportunity for everyone to move on. Council instead chose to keep the matter alive.
Surely, there are other ways to resolve this conflict that don't involve sanctions and court battles. In reference to the deteriorated relationship between the three councillors and Chief Administrative Officer Al Hoggan, Eamon specifically mentioned mediation as an option. This could also be an option to mend what appears to be deteriorated relationships between councillors.
We know council feels it is being portrayed in a negative light, and is tired of negative coverage – they themselves have told us that.
But a council that cannot get along is newsworthy, and as long as this matter continues, we will continue to report on it.