The Resort Villages were included in the Administrator’s report by CAO Brandi Morisette. It said, “On September 16th, 2021, RM Administration and Resort Village spokesman’s attended a conference call with the SMB on the matter of Road Maintenance Agreements being required for the Resort Villages for the maintenance on the portions of road accessing them. The RM stated that we do not wish to enter into Road Maintenance Agreement (as defined by the Act) but rather an Agreement for the maintenance. The RM will try to negotiate agreements with the Resort Villages.”
After returning from the regularly scheduled closed session of the council, Councillor Dixon made a motion. The motion directed the CAO to set up a virtual meeting with the Resort Village Mayors and councils to discuss future road agreements; and that the Reeve would contact the Mayors to make them aware that it was taking place. Reeve Schmidt said he should contact them first to see if they even wanted to meet. Arndt agreed and made an amendment to Dixon’s motion that the Reeve would contact the mayors in advance to see if they wanted to meet first. There was discussion among council as to the mechanics of if they should contact the mayor first or not, with Councillor Dixon wanting a meeting to be scheduled, and if they didn’t participate, that was up to them. Dixon did not approve the amendment because he wanted the invitation to be sent to all Mayors.
The discussion moved into how they would negotiate with the Resort Villages. Reeve Schmidt said it didn’t make sense to attempt to negotiate in a large group. Councillor Dixon said the attendance of the Mayors at the meeting would indicate the Resort Village’s willingness to discuss the road agreements. Councillor Gilbert agreed with Dixon. The Reeve continued to be concerned with negotiating as a large group. Dixon said negotiations wouldn’t need to occur at the meeting, as it was the first meeting; the discussion would revolve around mowing, extra grading and extra gravelling. He said the meeting would be to get the Resort Villages’ input and provide the RM with an opportunity to provide them with information about the costs involved.
Schmidt said, “ultimately we should be negotiating that individually with each village.” Dixon said he didn’t disagree, “but we have tried to get them to the table, we have tried the divide and conquer routine…which is the way to go, I agree, but it hasn’t worked.”
Council voted on Councillor Dixon’s motion, with Reeve Schmidt and Howard Arndt voting against the motion. The motion passed.
When contacted for comment, Tom Fulcher, Spokesperson for the Resort Villages, said, "The four resort villages have always been approachable and very willing to talk with the RM of McKillop regarding providing some funding toward the annual road maintenance of these RM roads. In fact, this week we had a lengthy discussion with Reeve Schmidt in regards to this, which can only be described as promising. As a result of these recent discussions, we are reluctant to comment further on anything said by others that might jeopardize these ongoing discussions".
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times