Clyde dissolution petition accepted
Timeline for study remains unknown
The petition from Clyde residents calling for a dissolution study in the village has been found to be sufficient, and the process has begun.
Both Westlock County and Clyde councils received a letter at their July 17 meetings confirming that Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths would proceed with the study, but what that process will entail is still unclear.
“They haven’t really told us that much except it’s happening, and they’ve set up a person to look into it,” Reeve Charles Navratil said. “What we’ve been told is that if Municipal Affairs decides that’s what’s happening, then that’s what’s happening. We have no choice as a county.”
Although the municipalities might not necessarily have a say in the matter, he said the change would be a positive one for residents of both municipalities.
“I would like to think it would be a positive thing, but of course you have people out there who will probably say just the opposite,” he said.
Navratil went on to say that not only would the Clyde dissolution be positive for the area, but looking further down the road, he would like to see a single municipal government for the region, including the town and the county — the main benefit of this being the cost savings on municipal staff.
“I know you’d have to still double up on some employees, but some administrative stuff, you could eliminate,” he said, “It would be a savings to the municipalities in the long run.”
In the shorter term, he said the possible dissolution of the village would be a smooth transition, if that’s the direction Municipal Affairs chooses.
Peggy Hardinge, the county’s director of finance and administration, said she foresaw no problem with taking on the village as a hamlet.
“Because this is in the works for a while, administration has had some preliminary discussions on how it might fit in,” she said. “Westlock County was the administrator for the village a number of years ago, so we are familiar with the day to day.”
At this point, however, such discussion is speculative; the minister has yet to say what the dissolution study will entail — he has a great deal of discretion under the Municipal Government Act to determine the process — but it could be months before things start to happen.
“The minister determines the format a dissolution study will take, and we expect that will be confirmed along with a timeline by the end of this fall,” said department spokesperson Wendy McGrath. “Once the process has been determined, a letter will be sent to the village office, the county office and village residents to inform them of the process.”
That timeline is not likely to satisfy some village residents, least of all Ann Wegernoski, who started the petition.
“Given the circumstances, hopefully they’ll make a quick decision before the byelection and shut them down,” she said. “Even if they do get more councillors, they’re going to be quitting before the next election. It’s just constant like that; it seems like they don’t stay long.”
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