Council mull broadcasting public meetings

·3 min read

Town of Beaverlodge

Regular Meeting of Council

November 8, 2021

In Attendance: Mayor Gary Rycroft,

councillors Cyndi Corbett, Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus, Hugh Graw, Gena Jones, Cody Moulds, Cal Mosher.

Broadcast of public meetings: Council received a letter from Beaverlodge resident Lindsay Hole requesting that council host a live broadcast of public meetings and archival of the same.

“Transparency and accountability are fundamental to effective governance,” wrote Hole.

“It does increase your accountability as council,” Jeff Johnston, chief administration officer (CAO), told council.

He also noted that the town's demographics are changing and that they need to cater to younger families.

Coun. Cal Mosher wondered how many people would use the service.

“I think it's a really good idea; quite often people are uninformed,” said Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus.

Coun. Cody Moulds said broadcasting council meetings could help combat misinformation being spread on social media.

Mayor Gary Rycroft reminded councillors “off the cuff” remarks would be recorded into the future should they go ahead with it.

“I sit on three boards, and they record every single meeting,” said Coun. Gena Jones, who also added that it's not even noticed by most of those in attendance.

“This is for the best interest of the town,” said Graw.

Council asked administration to look into the practice, how many are doing so and associated costs.

St. Mary’s kitchen: CAO Johnston said he met with the Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools (GPCSD) superintendent to discuss a clause in an agreement to have a steering committee for the kitchen usage at St. Mary’s School.

“I think it's important for us on our communication with the Catholic school,” said Johnston.

An agreement between Beaverlodge and GPDCS was signed in 2016 after town council approved a partnership with GPCSD in October 2013 for the commercial kitchen, said Tina Letendre, deputy CAO.

The town entered the agreement to so that it could offer a larger facility for rental events.

Beaverlodge’s contribution to the project was $308,113.94 for the initial build of the community kitchen, said Letendre.

New highway signs: Council decided to make some changes to highway signs along Hwy. 43 coming into town.

The old Community Business Sign program (CBS) will be replaced by the new Tourism Highway Signage Program (THSP) an initiative of Alberta Traffic Supply in contract with Alberta Transportation.

Coun. Mosher questioned if this was even needed considering there was already a lot of signage as you come into town.

“I think it would be really beneficial to the businesses in town,” said Coun. Jones.

Children’s day: Council decided to proclaim Nov. 20 National Children’s Day.

The South Peace Area Rural Kids Early Development (SPARKED) sent a letter to council asking that they support National Child Day.

“We would like to invite you to celebrate one of our country’s most valuable resources - our children,” said Chantel Napier, chair of SPARKED.

“Council should recognize that the future success of any community is largely reliant on the positive development of its children.”

New library board members: The Town of Beaverlodge Library Board recommended two additional board members to council.

Council voted to accept Iris Arberry and Brian Arberry to the Town of Beaverlodge Library Board for a full three-year term.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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