A real head-scratcher if ever there was!

I am confident Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy didn’t make many friends around the table at council’s meeting Feb. 25.

But what he did do was bring up an interesting point.

Gilroy disclosed he read through the entire petition papers signed to demolish the old hospital and he was the only councillor to sign it. I’m not sure why he read through all the papers but his discovery is interesting. He was obviously looking to see how many of his friends around the table actively participated in the petition.

Turns out not too many!

Citizens have every right to ask why. It was a question Gilroy did not ask fellow councillors, however.

Whether you agree or disagree, council has actively pursued a lobby to demolish the site. The fact more people did not sign the petition is a head-scratcher.

It must first be recognized a petition is not legally binding. In this case, the petition is merely a tool for town council and the chamber to use in their lobbying efforts. A petition with a solid majority of names from the municipality where it originates is a very strong voice.

I find the 527 names to be a rather poor voice of support. It is a poor outcry from the people which will not exactly make the politicians in Edmonton stand up and take notice. This is not exactly Nikiti Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the desk at the United Nations Oct. 12, 1960.

Overall, Gilroy was hoping for better support.

“It did not go as well as we hoped,” he said.

Meanwhile, High Prairie and Area Chamber of Commerce president Barry Sharkawi took a far more positive approach. Always the guy who could fall in manure and find honey, Sharkawi maintained many recognized the safety factor and signed the petition.

He is not totally wrong. Over 500 voices is still 500 voices, considering the large contingent of Alberta Health Services employees should not become involved and sign. The petition is certainly not a total failure.

But what is wrong about this petition is that only one member of town council signed it after endorsing it. Council is actively pursuing the petition’s goal so why did so many councillors not sign?

One can dilly-dally as to the reasons why. As said before, a petition is not legally binding, and their overall effectiveness can be questioned.

What can be argued is if council supported the petition – and they do – they should have each made every effort to sign it and fulfill the motion passed in the hallowed halls of council chambers.

No one on council has expressed any public opposition to demolishing the old hospital.

Is it fair to ask just how hard council is trying to demolish the hospital? It’s a question that begs to be asked.

Or does it simply fall under the category of “I forgot!”

If so, and I believe it was, it’s a very poor excuse.

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