At City Hall
Saturday, Apr 26, 2014 06:00 am
Smart City Alliance MOU signed
Representatives from the city, IBM Canada, Cisco Canada, the University of Alberta and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology gathered at St. Albert Place on Tuesday night to sign a memorandum of understanding forming a provincial Smart City Alliance.
The “smart city” concept looks to use technology for municipal management and residents, from smart phone applications to traffic monitoring.
Third-party election financing
Mayor Nolan Crouse’s motion to put forward a resolution for consideration at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention in the fall was passed unanimously by council.
If passed at the convention, the resolution submitted by St. Albert would call on the provincial government to amend the Local Authorities Election Act “to strengthen campaign financial reporting transparency, particularly with respect to third party contributions or expenses to support a particular candidate.”
While council voted unanimously to submit the resolution, Crouse was questioned on his intent.
“Just a simple question for you, Mr. Mayor. What is wrong with third-party involvement in elections?” asked Coun. Cam MacKay.
“For the most part I view them as non-transparent,” Crouse said, noting third-party involvement in previous Calgary, Edmonton and St. Albert elections.
Coun. Sheena Hughes suggested adding unions to the motion, an amendment that Crouse accepted.
Hughes said she’d support the motion, but noted her concern that some people are worried about retaliation if they speak their opinion.
Council supported the idea of transparency and disclosure.
“Any way we can increase transparency and create accountability that way is a positive thing,” said Coun. Gilles Prefontaine.
Eek! gets funding
City council approved a request for $40,000 from the city’s community significant event stimulus fund to help fund the upcoming Eek Comic and Pop Culture Fest that’s running May 31 to June 1.
Guy Boston, executive director of the city’s economic development department, said the economic development advisory committee had taken on the role of evaluating applications for the community significant event stimulus fund and that the Eek application was the only application in the first round of call for proposals.
“I thought this would be a great event,” Boston said, noting the estimated demographics expect 50 per cent of the attendees to be between 18 and 30.
Council also liked the idea of an event that appeals to so many younger people, though noted it’s not just for the under 30 set. Council approved the grant unanimously.
City letterhead policy coming?
Hughes gave notice of motion asking administration to develop a policy governing city and city council’s use of city letterhead for review by council by the end of 2014.
Hughes’ motion came after Ted Durham, a resident and a candidate for council in the recent election, asked for such a motion, citing a letter the mayor sent to Durham’s employer after Durham contacted the mayor with concerns about comments Crouse made at the chamber of commerce’s gala.
“I suggested he withdraw his comments or I would encourage chamber of commerce members to boycott his future appearances,” Durham said.
Durham said he’s received legal advice that he has a base from which to initiate legal proceedings.
“Rather than initiating legal proceedings at this time, I’ve decided to appear before council to suggest one, you introduce a policy or rule of ethics which prohibits any member of council from contacting any citizen’s employer simply because that elected official has political differences with that citizen. Number two, you introduce a policy which precludes the mayor or any elected official from using his badge of office in the name of the city to promote his or her personal agendas. I submit to you that this kind of bullying and intimidation is unbecoming of an elected official,” Durham said.
Hughes’ notice of motion will be voted on at a future meeting.