Job cuts come to Hythe with dissolution

·3 min read

The Village of Hythe office on main street closed its doors for the last time Wednesday.

The closure comes with the village’s dissolution, and it becoming a hamlet of the County of Grande Prairie.

With it, some services may also be leaving.

Four job positions from the village (permanent and casual) were eliminated June 30 due to duplication of the county's services, said county chief administrative officer (CAO) Joulia Whittleton.

The eliminated positions will come from the public works department and Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), Whittleton said.

“We have capacity and resources to provide the services to the village residents with our existing resources, and hence those tough decisions were made,” Whittleton told Town & Country News.

Additionally, four permanent and three seasonal employees have been offered -- or will be offered -- an opportunity to transition their jobs to the county.

“These are not decisions we take lightly,” said Whittleton.

“It is important to note that the decision to eliminate these positions is not a reflection of the work of these employees and their service to the people of Hythe.

“These decisions were made as a result of duplication of work and our responsibility to manage tax dollars effectively.”

A statement issued by the county Tuesday said many FCSS programs would continue in Hythe, but some of those services that were provided by the village and not the county would be evaluated.

Whittleton said that she could not comment on which services were being evaluated.

She said that the province provides the funding for FCSS and specifies which programs qualify for funding.

“There are many factors to consider related to the dissolution,” said Whittleton.

“This includes the continued delivery of service, duplication of county services, the use of taxpayers’ dollars, and the long-term well-being of the county, which, as of Thursday, includes the hamlet of Hythe.”

“We're doing the best we can for the people of the village and the employees and making sure that there are no service interruptions and so on,” she said.

The library in Hythe transitioned to the county in June due to library boards being established differently, Whittleton said, adding the existing staff would continue providing the service.

“The library is there, and they're open to the public to access,” she said.

Whittleton said that the county is being careful in its transition and has “kept its word” in what it has said it would do.

She conceded some community concerns could not be easily answered without full access to the village's business, which is not available to the county until July 1, she said.

“I just would like to see people being patient and respectful to the county employees that are working through this transition.”

The Village of Hythe voted in March to dissolve and become a part of the County of Grande Prairie, with a 95 per cent vote in favour.

The government approved the dissolution on June 9, and the village officially becomes a hamlet on July 1.

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

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