St. Albert needs time to review county deal: city manager
Patrick Draper says he's not trying to derail agreement between Sturgeon County and the city
Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 06:00 am
St. Albert’s city manager is not trying to throw a wrench into St. Albert-Sturgeon County relations by asking for a couple of months to review the proposed inter-municipal memorandum of understanding.
While Sturgeon County council has already signed off on the proposed memorandum, which outlines joint principles to guide the city and county’s planning efforts, St. Albert city council elected on Monday night to allow administration some time to review and report.
“There’s no alarm bells going off. We’re not trying to derail anything,” said Patrick Draper, the city manager.
The memorandum is just over one page in length and outlines several points, including that St. Albert is best suited to handle high density residential urban development and Sturgeon County is not interested in doing so.
“Documents that are one page can also have a tremendous amount of significance,” Draper said.
The report was originally targeted to come back on May 26 but council pushed for an earlier date, settling on May 5.
Draper explained they have a several-week process that involves the document going to different departments and staff for review, and then it needs to get put on the agenda. That process was kicked off by council receiving the memorandum for information on Monday.
“I’m also trying to balance workload,” Draper said, noting city staff have more than 160 projects on the go right now. “Different items have to be queued in.”
Also city staff, while they had seen a previous draft, weren’t involved in the drafting of the memorandum of understanding, which was produced by Sturgeon County.
“Sturgeon County is proposing it to the City of St. Albert,” Draper said. “It was Sturgeon County’s document that they eventually got approved by their council.”
While Draper can’t speak to the politicians’ feelings, he says on a city staff to county staff front, there hasn’t been any frustrations expressed with the delay.
“I’m not hearing any indications of concern,” he said, adding he meets regularly with Sturgeon County’s chief administrative officer.
“People would like to have this move along. It’s an important document between two communities and to make sure it says exactly what it should say, you know, would it really hurt to take a couple extra weeks given we’re talking about a long-term relationship between two municipalities?” he asked.