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Voter trust


Two stories this week illustrated the importance of municipal governments maintaining the confidence of residents.

On one hand, despite initial concerns their elected officials were proceeding too fast, residents of Beiseker and neighbouring communities were heartened when their elected officials made the decision to hold off on approving a controversial biomedical waste incinerator. In the face of possible health and environmental impacts, Village council chose to table the application and gather more information.

On the other hand, at least one resident of Rocky View County (and several others if you consider the results of our past polls on the matter) says his trust in council has been eroded and feels he was mistreated by a municipal government that did not take his concerns seriously. Though the County said it would appeal the decision, a ruling from a Court of Queen’s Bench judge suggested he, too, found RVC council had missed the mark, stating council had acted “patently unreasonable” by failing to considering the accumulated impact of multiple gravel pits near residents.

Councillors often find themselves in the unenviable position of weighing competing demands; residents want one thing, industry wants another. Those decisions are no doubt difficult to make, but in making those tough calls, it is imperative elected officials retain the trust of their constituents – the people who chose them as their representatives. Otherwise, they may find themselves out of a job next election cycle.