November 2017 Councillor Update
Welcome to the November Councillor update. The monthly recaps will often encompass my social media posts (in particular my Facebook posts) as they happen more often but I will update this post throughout the month.
November 14, 2017 Council Meeting
Our next council meeting is tomorrow (as today is a holiday). I’ve attached the link to the council agenda. Meetings are open to the public! Meetings now start at 6pm (moved from 5pm).
Some of the issues we’ll be discussing: (not exhaustive)
1. 2018 fees and charges
2. Traffic bylaw amendment (add and remove snow routes)
3. West Central area structural plan (west of Jen Heil, north of Hwy 16a, east of Boundary road)
4. Heritage estates area structural plan- Hawthorne neighbourhood
5. Deer Park redistributing (Aging in Place complex, north part of Deer Park neighbourhood, to the east of Jen Heil Way, just south of Yellowhead highway)
6. Committee board appointments
7. Coal Community transition fund
8. Cemetery bylaw
As always, if you have any comments or questions, please contact me or any other council member and we’re happy to discuss.
And an update on the next stage of the SEC.
During the election, I heard from residents that we didn’t have enough information on this proposal. Many had the idea that this is a rec facility and wondered why we weren’t putting in other facilities like pools and squash courts. It’s clear that we just don’t have a clear sense of what the SEC could look like as well as what the Westwind lands could develop into.
I wrestled with my decision but realized, this is what residents want– more information. I feel this is the best way to reach our residents with the right information. Before we do public consultation, we have to be able to provide residents with more information. By voting in favour, I am not dismissing public consultations (I fully support public consultation on this project), nor is this an endorsement of the SEC.
I believe we have to do our homework and I’d rather see us put money into the project now rather than grossly underestimate (or overestimate costs) that hurt us later. Residents have to know what they’re offering their thought on. This grant is the opportunity for us to do this and do it right.
Council debated this issue for over an hour (not bad for our first official meeting since our swearing in meeting) and none of us took this decision/vote lightly.
I welcome your thoughts.
November 27, 2017 Council Meeting
1. 2017 Third Quarter Financial Statements
2. Third Reading- 2018 Fees and Charges bylaw
3. Board and Council Appointments
4. 2018-2020 Corporate Plan
The last item is the budget approval for the 2018 year. As noted before, Council is putting forward a budget with a proposed 3.9% tax increase (on average, an $11.61 per month increase when water is also factored in).
Last night’s council meeting saw the passing of the 2018-2020 Corporate plan. Administration did a great job putting together the plan over the last 13 months and within the expected tax increase of 3.9%. Head to the newly redesigned Spruce Grove website for the plan!
Also last night, Council took some time in the meeting to recognize two very important dates that occurred on November 20th and November 25th respectively.
As we campaigned, we heard from our residents that Council must show more inclusivity and recognize our groups here in Spruce Grove that have been marginalized and underserved.
I was fortunate to make the following two statements:
On the Transgender Day of Remembrance:
As we did not have a council meeting last week, I wish to speak to a couple of issues that are important in our community and deserve a statement here at City Council meeting. November 20th was the Transgender Day of Remembrance and a time to memorialize those that have had their lives cut much too soon as a result of transphobia. This day draws attention to the violence that those in the transgender continue to endure.
The City of Spruce Grove and this council would like to acknowledge those who have taken the brave steps in their journey and to remember those who have tragically seen their lives ended by violence. As a society, we continue to work towards ending violence against our LGTBQ2S community and as a City, we must speak up- and stand up- against those whose actions are violent and out of touch towards our transgender friends and peers. Spruce Grove is a city of inclusivity, but we must always work hard to bring attention to- and teach our communities about acceptance, tolerance and loving thy neighbour.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
And November 25th was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against women. Unfortunately, even in 2017, violence against girls and women is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations. Even here in Spruce Grove, we have a domestic violence problem, and we must recognize and acknowledge that it exists. It is up to each of us to end the violence against women and girls. We cannot ignore the violence and expect domestic violence to disappear on its own.
Research shows that achieving gender equality helps prevent conflict. We have to raise awareness and mobilize each other to bring about change. This year, the United Nation’s Theme is “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls” and reinforce the commitment to a world free from violence for our women and girls, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized. We all have a role to play, even here in our own community. As in previous years, the UN invites all of us to “Orange the world”- the UN colour to symbolize a brighter future without violence. Let’s all contribute to making Spruce Grove a safe and caring place for our women and children.