South Peace News
The Town of High Prairie is proclaiming Oct. 6 as West Fraser Day in recognition of the company’s contributions to the community.
While council was unanimous in its support for the proclamation, a long debate ensued over whether or not councillors would get paid to attend the open house.
“If you want to go, go, but you aren’t able to charge,” said Councillor Brian Panasiuk.
“I like the idea of proclaiming West Fraser Day. I’m all for it,” he added.
Mayor Linda Cox, who was absent from the meeting, presented the idea to council but was not clear on whether or not councillors could charge for attending. The question immediately arose.
“Why [not charge]?” asked Councillor Michaal Long.
“It’s a public open house,” replied Councillor Debbie Rose. “It’s not a specific invitation to us. I don’t see this as an approved councillor honourarium.”
Later, she added if council had a “big budget” she might see otherwise.
Councillor Michael Long disagreed.
“It’s not very often I argue on behalf of the mayor,” he said. “It’s a function of the mayor to present those proclamations.
“The mayor wants to recognize West Fraser for all the good they’ve done. “I still think the mayor should be there for West Fraser Day.”
Councillor Donna Deynaka replied council can attend “anything” at their discretion and later charge.
“That is correct,” said Long.
“Give the recognition for that day,” said Councillor Arlen Quartly. “Go if you want. I wouldn’t bill for it.”
Council passed the proclamation unanimously but did not include in the motion that “any councillors wishing to attend the grand opening be allowed to do so.”
Councillor Brian Gilroy was also absent from the meeting.
Rose added that she would not oppose Cox bringing the matter back for approval if she attended.
Meanwhile, Long simply wanted the meeting to move along.
“We have bigger issues,” he said.