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Cypress County council defeats request for municipal inspection

Posted on May 23, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Cypress County council has defeated a motion to request a municipal inspection from the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The idea was first brought forward as a notice of motion by Coun. Robin Kurpjuweit at the Feb. 6 meeting, and subsequently was pushed forward until this week’s regular meeting where the motion failed.

Kurpjuweit stressed during the meeting that the intent of the inspection was to be purely constructive and positive, from a desire to be on a strong, united council.

“That is absolutely where my heart is. I also want to be part of a strong region,” said Kurpjuweit. “For years I’ve worked with either FCM or RMA, but I’ve watched as different councils interact with one another in different ways. And I’ve slowly seen the weaponization of certain bylaws, like codes of conduct, that have been taken to different levels. Not just in Alberta, but coast to coast. You look at codes of conduct used to really create certain controls within councils.”

Kurpjuweit referenced a “tough time” happening in a neighbouring municipality, noting that there “doesn’t seem to be any winners in the way that things are going right now.”

The motion was contested largely on the grounds that taxpayer money could be better spent on other projects, such as roads, playgrounds and other infrastructure, said Coun. Shane Hok. He highlighted open houses and other avenues that residents have utilized to communicate with elected officials, and that he believes the inspection may inhibit ability to continue with good governance.

“We have already spent taxpayer dollars on an independent review. That came back with an impressive result,” said Coun. Michelle McKenzie. “I think personally, it would be an inappropriate use of tax dollars. Those dollars should be used for public buildings, infrastructure, roads, maintenance, parks and recreation, which is ultimately what we’re here to do.”

The motion was defeated, and Reeve Dan Hamilton expressed a desire to focus on projects councillors can complete in their remaining roughly 18 months.

“I am disappointed that the vote didn’t go through,” Kurpjuweit told Southern Alberta Newspapers after the meeting. “Outside of that one item though, I thought it was a very good and productive meeting. I will continue to work with council and push for the highest levels of governance that we can deliver. And like many of the councillors said, I really would encourage our residents to pick up the phone and let your councillors know what’s important to you.”

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