Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Town Council notes: October 22, 2012 meeting
Pincher Creek's Town Council met on the evening of October 22. In attendance were Mayor Ernie Olson and Councillors Don Anderberg, Sahra Hancock, Lorne Jackson, Roy Smyth, and Murray Lauder.
RHL Huskies invite Mayor to drop the puck for opening game
Senior Huskies member Jeff Kaupp thanked council for the fee reductions they approved at their September 24 meeting for the newly formed RHL team. Kaupp also invited all the councillors to the Huskies home opener, to be held Friday, October 26. He invited Mayor Ernie Olson to performthe ceremonial puck drop at 8:30 pm.
"Friday is our home opener against Nanton," Kaupp explained. "I wanted to update you, and personally thank you guys for your decision. It really helps." Kaupp mentioned that the team is made up of 95% local players. "We are going to recognize the Town of Pincher Creek as one of our sponsors during our game programs." Mayor Olson agreed to perform the puck drop.
Related link: RHL Huskies to get a break on practice time rate
Huddlestun Centre repairs addressed
Representatives from the Huddlestun Senior Centre appeared before council as an unscheduled delegation. Joyce McFarland, Bob Neish, and Alf Neuberg were given permission to approach council. They were there to follow up on two issues. The first issue was a pool table that Huddlestun members claim was damaged due to a roof leak in the spring. They said they heard from Bylaw Officer Gordon Pitt that insurance would not cover damage to the pool table as the insurance company considered it wear and tear. They also said they had obtained a $1165.50 estimate to repair the damage to the pool table. CAO Laurie Wilgosh said the insurance response referred to the damage overall, not just to that which had occurred to the pool table. Later in the meeting council unanimously voted to cover the cost of repairs to the pool table up to $1200.00, with funds from the Community Contingency Account.
The second issue the group raised was a window condensation problem at the centre. McFarland said Al Roth has been to look at the situation and is expecting a third party report within a week. Administration was directed to bring it to council once this information was available.
Memorial Plaque Fee passes third and final reading
Cemetery Fee Bylaw Amendment 1538-06-A unanimously passed second and third readings. This amendment sets a fee for the purchase of memorial plaques to be installed at the kiosk at the Fairview Cemetery.
Idea board input discussed
The Town accepted as information the results generated from an 'Idea Board' that was available to the public at the Town of Pincher Creek booth at the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show.
Suggestions and comments from the public showed a wide variety of concerns and interests that touched on economic development, recreation, community services, bylaw, operations, infrastructure and council. This information was accepted by council and will be distributed to the various appropriate boards and committees for input.
Councillor Roy Smyth said "I think we can use this as a tool. These could be jumping off points." Councillor Sahra Hancock said it was "a bit of a barometer" for public input.
Council atwitter over social media
The new under construction town website will have more interactive capabilities, according to CAO Laurie Wilgosh. In preparation for the launch council discussed social media policy.
Councillor Sahra Hancock asked for clarification on the role of councillors. "In the responsibility, it talks of employees. Where does council fit into that? Is council considered an employee in this policy, or are we outside of this policy?" Hancock quoted the passage that read in part 'Town employees have the same rights of free speech as other citizens, however they may not represent the Town on their own personal social media sites', "and the rest of the stuff that is blanketed for town employees," Hancock added. She said she had concerns about both confidentiality and the ability to communicate openly with the public as a councillor. She remarked that members of the public will communicate with board members on social media sites, citing Facebook and Twitter as examples.
Councillor Lorne Jackson said "I think if you feel confident in communicating something with someone on the street, and you're not bound by confidentiality, you should be able to voice it on that," referring to a variety of social media options being discussed.
Mayor Olsen said "I think as a council we have to be extremely careful how we individualize our responses to anybody. Sahra, if you say something on twitter, as a councillor, that means we've said it."
Councillor Don Anderberg suggested an existing policy that names a single councillor to act as a spokesperson for the council be referenced as well. "I don't know what the policy name is," Anderberg continued, "Maybe this is okay as it stands, but maybe we should look at the other policy." Anderberg expressed that the 'other policy' would be more appropriate as it directly relates to council. "They could be cross referenced," he added "It may be better to have them separate, so it doesn't get confusing."
Hancock said that the policy that Anderberg was referring to "Really speaks to disasters and emergencies, not everyday things. I think administration needs to be able to have the ability to direct the communications. If it was to include council in that, it might be an interesting line of communication."
Jackson said "Really, what's the difference between talking at a table full of people, or talking through social media? It gets out to more people. If it's okay to say it in public, it's okay to say it in public." He said there were options such as directing questions to other people on staff, if and when appropriate, citing the Operations Manager and the CAO.
Referring back to the 'other policy' that he mentioned earlier Anderberg said, "There is a specific appointed person to speak, and it's not necessarily the Mayor, that all the information goes through one person, so the story stays the same."
Wilgosh suggested that time be allowed to research the issues before it was to be presented again.
It was moved that the discussion be moved for review to the committee of the whole meeting on December 6, 2012.