RM of Meadow Lake ratepayers air concerns

R.M. Coun. Doug Bacon responds to one of the questions posed from the floor at the ratepayers meeting Nov. 16 at the Catholic Parish Hall in Meadow Lake.

By Rhonda Cooper

The lines of communication between the RM of Meadow Lake No. 588’s ratepayers and its current elected council were blown wide open at the ratepayers meeting held Nov. 16 at the Catholic Parish Hall in Meadow Lake.

Communication, or lack thereof, between the council and the ratepayers turned out to be the central point of the evening. Some of the identified issues included problems with wildlife such as elk and beaver, better signage for enhanced safety around gravel pits, clarification of minutes from previous regular RM meetings, travel expenses of council members and purchasing procedures of RM equipment.

Reeve John Lawson believes many of the issues brought forward could have been handled at a regular council meeting.

“But that was their choice,” he said. “The ratepayers meeting is the place to ask questions and they got to do that.”

Roger Zuchotzki, a former councillor for from the Dorintosh area was pleased with the turnout.

“It was one of the biggest ratepayers meetings held in this RM and many of the people who had concerns were there,” he said.

Five ratepayers took to the microphone to ask questions and share background information regarding issues raised. When able, council provided answers to the queries.

Chairperson Denise Dodds closed each issue by summarizing the question and response and determining whether both parties were satisfied with the exchange of information, looking for a positive outcome or steps for successful resolution of the concern raised.

A reoccurring recommendation from Dodds was the need for details in written communication between the council and the ratepayers whether in contracts or meeting’s minutes.

“If people have a concern, be diligent and get in there (RM office) to raise those concerns,” Dodds said. “If a ratepayer has called their councillor, the councillor must practice due diligence and respond to the message or call. There is room for improvement here on both
sides of the table.”

When it comes to communication, a seven-member council serving two thousand and some people makes it difficult for each of them to be in the know about issues said Lawson.

“If people have a problem, they need to come to us,” he said. “No one has been to any meetings except one (meeting).”

Lawson noted council would have liked to put forth some of the work they’ve been doing and plan to do in the future.

“It would have been nice to have had that happen,” he said.

Council and reeve will be discussing all raised topics at the Dec. 12 regular council meeting.
Zuchotzki was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

“The democratic process worked for the ratepayers,” he said. “There were issues that had to be brought out into the open. Hopefully they (council) are a lot more diligent in their procedures and communicating will be more harmonious between the two sides.”

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