By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber has appointed members to the Chinook Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. The appeal board is a collaborative board managed by the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) that is made up of qualified members from surrounding municipalities. When an appeal is submitted, ORRSC can form a panel from this larger pool of members regardless of the municipality that they represent.
“I know in last October, we did appoint Jennifer Crowson to be a member at large for the M.D. I understand the Town of Vauxhall has also appointed Jennifer Crowson,” stated Reeve Merrill Harris at the M.D.’s regular meeting on Jan. 24.
“That is correct,” replied CAO Arlos Crofts. “I think the RFD references that as well, I guess when we confirmed or double-checked with ORRSC, the M.D. has the opportunity to appoint up to two additional members at large. So, that’s up to two. Ultimately, that would lie within council’s discretion, but that’s who we have trained and has been there in the past. They do have to meet certain training requirements.”
The M.D.’s bylaw states that “appointed board members from a municipality shall consist of no more than three members, with no more than one being an elected official and the other two being non-elected officials who are persons at large. If two or less persons are appointed as members, they must be non-elected persons at large”.
Former CISDAP members Bill Parkinson and John Sinclair are trained and stated their willingness to the M.D. to be members at large. With Crowson already approved for the board by the Town of Vauxhall, there is an opportunity to add other members.
“At the time, we weren’t aware that Jennifer Crowson had been also appointed by the Town of Vauxhall. She still could be technically appointed, but given that Vauxhall appointed her, she’s in the pool of candidates already,” said Crofts.
While the M.D. had names in front of them to appoint this go around, there were questions about the process of appointing members in the future.
“I’m not sure how we come up with those people that are members at large. I don’t know what the process has been in the past,” said Harris.
“I could be speaking out of turn, but as far as I understand, there’s no process. The process I guess starts and ends with an appointment that you typically do at your organizational meeting,” responded Crofts, who also added a comment around what he has seen from other municipalities when appointing members at large. “In other communities where I’ve encountered these appointments for appointing members at large to sit, we actually treated them as personnel-related items. The process in one municipality that I worked with actually had an application process and council reviewed the applications and made appointments based on that. Other municipalities have other processes, but there is always that avenue if council wanted to discuss it in the context of (a) personnel matter as you guys are appointing members at large to represent the Municipal District of Taber.”
Others on council liked exploring a more formal process when appointing members to this board.
“This is a quasi-judicial board that these people are making decisions on. I think it’s important that we get the right people. I am not opposed to going through the process you spoke of in other communities,” stated Coun. John Turcato.
“In the context of the MGA (Municipal Government Act), because they are quasi-judicial that’s why the training is important and key,” added Crofts.
A motion to rescind resolution O-2022-18 “That; Reeve Merrill Harris, Councillor Chantal Claassen and member at large Jennifer Crowson be appointed to the Chinook Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board” was carried unanimously. A second motion to appoint Merrill Harris, Chantal Claassen (alternate), and Bill Parkinson to the Chinook Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board was carried.
Furthermore, that the M.D. initiate a process of recruitment for the appeal board was also put forward. An amendment to the motion was put on the table to also include John Sinclair but was defeated 3-3 with Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga and Councillors Turcato and Brian Hildebrand in opposition while Reeve Harris and Councillors John DeGroot and Murray Reynolds voted in favour. The original motion was then carried 4-2 with Harris and Reynolds voting in opposition.
Coun. Chantal Claassen was absent from this portion of the meeting.