Cochranites launch petition over alleged town council missteps

By CityNews Staff

Residents in Cochrane have launched a petition demanding that Municipal Affairs conduct an inspection on how the town is governed.

It comes among other concerns around transparency and communication amongst elected officials in Alberta — Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver dismissed Chestermere’s mayor, four councillors, and three administrative officers earlier this week for similar allegations, saying the city was mismanaged and calls for it to be fixed went unaddressed.

Todd Simmer launched the petition in Cochrane.

“No communication or anything like that,” he told CityNews. “And then when you look at town council itself this year, ever since they’ve come back to chambers, it’s just infighting and constant calls for clarity and transparency with really hard objections or hitting a wall.”

Simmer, who is a local business owner, claims the town changed the zoning of his property without his knowledge.

Read more: 4 Chestermere councillors, 3 administrative officers dismissed

“We need the government to come in and — I guess just like what’s happening in Chestermere — it’s kind of serendipitous that all of this seems to be coming apart at the same time,” he said. “But I think that people deserve to know the truth and when people ask for the truth it shouldn’t be a heated debate in council chambers where the mayor and councillors are coming up with pre-written statements to fry each other.”

Cochrane resident Rae Dyck signed the petition.

“They pushed a budget through that we don’t know where a lot of the money is even going, what project,” she told CityNews. “They’re always coming up with a new project that we have no say in, they tell us after they’ve started it.”

One town councillor, Marni Fedeyko, has even put her name on the petition.

When reached for comment, the Town of Cochrane told CityNews it acts with the best interest of its residents.

“If the majority of Cochrane residents would like an audit from municipal affairs on the governance of the municipality, we would of course, comply to the fullest extent,” a town representative said in an email statement. “We are firmly committed to acting in the best interest of our community.”

Residents have until Saturday to sign the petition and 4,200 signatures are needed for it to be passed on to Municipal Affairs.

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