Send no one to Halifax, Deynaka suggests

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

High Prairie town council may be ready to change its policy and send more councillors to a national conference, despite the opposition from one councillor to send anyone at all.

Councillor Donna Deynaka moved to accept an invitation to attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Halifax from May 31 to June 3 for information at council’s Jan. 30 meeting. In short, it means to send no one.

Mayor Brian Panasiuk and Councillor Debbie Rose opposed the idea, saying there was value in attending the conference, and hinted they may be willing to change policy to allow three or four councillors to attend from the current two.

In making her motion, Deynaka questioned the expense and value of sending councillors across the country.

“You come back with a good report but I don’t see anything coming out of it,” she said.

Rose disagreed saying a recent conference was where talks began with Big Lakes County and the M.D. of Greenview on an agreement which realized $800,000 extra for town council.

“Did you have to go…to get that agreement?” asked Deynaka, citing both live just down the road.

Rose, Panasiuk and former mayor Linda Cox violated council policy by attending the FCM conference in Niagara Falls years ago. Council policy cited only two were allowed to attend. Panasiuk remembered the matter but said there was good value and a good exchange of ideas exchanged.

“From my point of view, there’s a lot of value there.”

Councillor Arlen Quartly added the conference was also an opportunity to educate councillors. He added the expense was worth attending.

Councillor Brian Gilroy recognized Deynaka’s point but added councillors had to attend with a plan and direction from council to get the most value.

Rose and Panasiuk expressed interest in going to Halifax, with Rose offering to pay for her flight, if necessary. Panasiuk said Long also wants to attend, while Gilroy said he would only attend if council voted him to attend.

If up to four attend, council will have to amend its policy which limits only two to attend when the conference is outside Alberta.

Panasiuk added Big Lakes County is sending 11 councillors and staff to the conference.

Costs to attend were not part of discussion.


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