Residents of Rocky View County (RVC) have received assurance after assurance the sanctions imposed on three councillors in June 2019 would have no impact on their ability to represent their constituents and council’s ability to effectively govern the municipality. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that dealing with the consequences is resulting in significant costs – both in time and money.
On top of the expense of defending its decision in court, council has spent considerable time adjusting the way it operates to accommodate the restrictions and ensure the councillors are still able to fulfill their duties as mandated by the Municipal Government Act. These hours could have been spent reviewing applications from landowners, who have been forced to put their own projects on hold while council works out its internal issues.
Since the sanctions were imposed, County administration has had to prioritize items like revoking decision-making authority from the Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC) and returning it to council, reviewing the travel sanctions imposed on the three councillors and addressing quorum issues with the Municipal Planning Commission – which led to meetings being cancelled and applicants having to wait just to receive a simple development permit approval. This hardly seems like a responsible, effective use of time and tax dollars.
Now, with the elimination of GPC, residents and groups who hope to provide information to council will have to do so at a regular meeting – and sit through 15-plus first reading items before they can make their short presentation.
How any of this is to the benefit of County ratepayers remains to be seen.