Alberta Municipal Affairs minister Kaycee Madu won't be ordering a municipal inspection of Rocky View County (RVC) as sought in a recent petition.
In a letter to RVC Reeve Greg Boehlke, Madue said the petition failed to demonstrate any significant and broad community concern that would warrant provincial intervention.
In November, county residents unsatisfied with county practices presented the petition to Madu. They had collected 4,595 signatures, well short of the 8,000 required.
In the letter, Madu said any decision over a municipal inspection is not made lightly, but no justifiable reason could be found to proceed with an inspection.
RVC Reeve Greg Boehlke says this is what he expected.
"The letter that they wrote basically said not only did the petition miss the point by quite a bit, but there was no reason for it. It's a very serious and in-depth issue, so the minister was pleased to say there was no reason to go on with it."
"We're not an abnormally in the province. Discrepancies are going with councils all over the place. People have to realize that some folks are just unhappy, and they're here not for the good of the county, but for the good of whatever mission they're on.
"Then there's the majority, and the majority is doing good things for Rocky View County right now, and has been this whole term. I'm quite happy that we're moving ahead. Frankly, all of this drama needs to go away, and we need to move ahead."
Under the Municipal Government Act, a minister may order an inspection of any matter connected with the management, administration, or operation of a municipality. It can be initiated independently by the minister or by a petition signed by at least 20 per cent of the municipality's population.
Janet Ballantyne, one of the petition's organizers, said they knew they didn't reach that 20 per cent threshold but submitted the petition anyway.
"While we are very disappointed that the minister of Municipal Affairs has decided to not inspect Rocky View’s operations, we’re not all that surprised since we didn’t get the 20 per cent that forces his hand," she says.
The group intends to remain a watchdog in the county through the organization Rocky View Forward. Since the launch of the petition, she says Rocky View Forward has seen an increase in inquiries.
"We’ve also heard from numerous sources that the minister is getting an enormous number of letters from across Rocky View outlining individuals’ concerns with the county and its operations. There is no doubt that Rocky View is on Municipal Affair's radar."