At City Hall: appointments, proposal and inclusive declaration

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Each city councillor will sit on four to six committees, after council agreed Monday to approve committee and external agency appointments.

The list of appointments includes 23 committees and agencies.

Among those appointments, Coun. Wes Brodhead will now sit on the Capital Region Board, with Coun. Ray Watkins as an alternate. Brodhead remains on the board’s transit task force.

Mayor Cathy Heron and Coun. Jacquie Hansen will sit as part of Global Edmonton, which is a Capital Region Board spinoff aiming to draw business to the Edmonton region.

Coun. Natalie Joly and Watkins will sit on the subdivision and development appeal board; Coun. Sheena Hughes will sit on the newly established policing committee; and Watkins and Hansen will sit on the new youth committee.

Coun. Ken MacKay will sit on the library board.

Council supports Active Communities proposal

Heron will write a letter of support for Active Communities Alberta to help the nonprofit organization apply for provincial and federal funding for a sport and wellness campus in St. Albert.

The organization had asked for a letter in its quest for provincial and federal funding, so it could show other levels of government the city is not opposed to the idea.

Councillors agreed to have Heron draft a carefully worded letter despite legal concerns from administration that there could be a risk to the city’s reputation.

Asked by Coun. Wes Brodhead to clarify the legal implications, city manager Kevin Scoble said that since the project has not been approved, if the city were to ultimately not support the project it could hurt St. Albert’s reputation. Additionally, he said the city does not have a formalized relationship with Active Communities Alberta and has not given the group permission to apply for funding on the city’s behalf.

He added a letter of support would not be appropriate until the project is approved or in the city’s capital plan.

Heron described the issue as a “chicken or egg” situation, pointing to the difficulty of determining which step needs to come first.

“They need our help so they can go to other levels of government,” she said.

Hughes, who put the motion forward, said the letter of support doesn’t need to commit the city to supporting the project itself but rather support the concept.

“I think this is necessary for Active Communities to garner the other funding they require. If we wait until we are committing to it, it will be too late,” she said.

The motion passed 6-1 with Hansen voting against the letter. Hansen said she wants to be more informed and talk about the letter in the second quarter of 2018 instead.

An inclusive declaration

Councillors gave the green light to the city’s community and social development department to officially draft a declaration on diversity and inclusion.

Department manager Cindy de Bruijn presented on the topic on Monday, asking for council’s sign-off. She said the declaration would help the city align with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s inclusive communities initiative.

The declaration will come to council for approval in the second quarter of 2018.

Joly said she wants to see a more detailed declaration than was presented Monday, with reference to specific vulnerable populations.

“We can identify populations so people feel safe when they’re reading that statement and can know it’s about them,” she said.

She added the statement should include a commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous people.

Councillors will have until March 1 to give feedback on the draft declaration.

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