Many agree with council critic

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A St. Albert builder said city council needs to work together if it wants to see the city grow and development succeed.

Paul Lanni, president of Averton Group of Companies, spoke to the Gazette following a speech by St. Albert Chamber of Commerce president Lynda Moffat last week in which she called out city council for being unable to work together.

Moffat said many important issues are not moving ahead because councillors are “busy nitpicking and poking.” She also criticized council’s distrust and disrespect for one another and staff.

Lanni said he could not speak to council’s conduct.

But he said that it is critical to St. Albert’s growth that important projects, such as Project 9 – a major sewer project needed to get several developments started in the southwest of the city – move ahead.

Developers are waiting for its completion, he said. He added that council and administration have told developers that the city is open for business and their actions need to speak to that now.

“As far as the nitpicking and things like that, I can’t speak to that,” he said. “But in general, moving forward is very important to the city and working together and being unified towards a consistent message of growth.”

Following Moffat’s speech, the Gazette left messages with several builders and developers for reaction, however, Lanni was the only one to return a phone call.

While many residents appeared to agree with Moffat’s comments, two out of eight interviewed said they were not overly concerned with council’s behaviour.

Resident Harry Davison said some in-fighting is normal.

“It’s pretty hard to have uniniymity,” he said. “I am sure they will get things done.”

But he also said that he did not like Coun. Bob Russell’s comments on the library and “was surprised” by some of the things Coun. Cam MacKay was doing.

Russell drew criticism for saying that he would cut his support for funding for a new library branch if library supporters continued to send him email. He later apologized for his remarks.

Other people asked about council’s decorum said councillors need to work out their differences and “get on the same page.”

One woman, who declined to be named, said that she got so tired of watching the city representatives act immature that she turned off her TV broadcast of council last week.

“It’s deplorable, their treatment to themselves and to the general public,” she said.

She did not want to give her name because she works for a St. Albert business and did not want it to receive “any flak.”

Another man, who did not want to give his name because he is a front-line city employee, said he would expect better decorum from people representing themselves as professionals.

“It seems like there is a deep division that is ideological and it shows,” he said. “They are more concerned about representing each of their own ideologies rather than working together.”

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