Developer-friendly councillors sell out their residents
Developer-friendly councillors sell out their residents On May 21, 150 people were reported to have attended a Public Hearing promoted by county council as an opportunity for the mayor and councillors to listen, to reflect and act upon input from residents concerning the Bremner ACP. The session turned into a scandalous farce when a contingent of mostly non-resident developers and their staffs showed up to make presentations and attempted to dominate the proceedings. Ironically five Sherwood Park councillors and the Ward 5 rural councillor, who asked few questions of resident presenters, enthusiastically posed leading questions for the developers and the Chamber executive director.
A closing resident presenter emotionally informed council and those in the gallery that Campaign Disclosure Statements showed the majority of developer-friendly councillors had accepted significant campaign contributions that place their voting patterns in a conflict of interest. Coun. Brian Botterill was singled out as having accepted the bulk of his finances from developer related sources. Three of the Sherwood Park ward councillors Botterill, Dave Anderson and Bill Tonita, who voted to approve the ACP, submitted statements which show they received over 90 per cent, 80 per cent and 70 per cent respectively of their financing from these sources. Councillors Robert Parks and Katie Berghofer accepted less than 10 per cent and Paul Smith self-funded.
These actions are yet another example of a problem plaguing municipal politics. Such was the case outlined in a June 6, 2015 Edmonton Journal article by David Staples: “When you ask a city politician if taking a campaign donation puts the donor in some special position of influence, they deny it, but. . . . Two years ago when a group of Calgary developers were caught plotting to get development-friendly candidates elected to city council, [one developer] secretly told his business friends that he didn’t think the popular but developer-unfriendly mayor could be knocked off, so the key would be to get eight development-friendly councillors elected in the October 2013 election. As long as you have eight votes, you can control whatever happens.”
On Strathcona County council, if you can elect five, you can control whatever happens.
— Darrel Clarkson, Sherwood Park resident
Support for pecuniary interest policy
I would like to think that the individual councillors in wards 2, 3 and 4 who voted to approve the Bremner expansion did so on good faith and with no outside influence from the developers who would more than benefit from this approval.
However, I would like to point out that if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and flies like a duck. It probably is a duck. In politics it is all about perception.
— Larry Putnam, Sherwood Park resident
What a joke
The last two editions of the Sherwood Park News (May 31 and June 4) had a picture of someone from the Me Too Movement and the last one was about gay pride in Sherwood park. Seventy-five years ago a lot of young Canadians gave up there life on Juno beach for the life that we can have today. There was not one article about what happened on this day, I think you could of found someone living or someone or something associated with this, but you choose to do an interview with someone that’s transgender from Uganda. I’m not being racist against those articles, I think it’s very disrespectful to the men and women that have served our country, but I guess Postmedia doesn’t think that way.
— Sparky Huculiak, Ardrossan resident
Editor’s note: The May 17th Sherwood Park News included a story about the national From Juno to Vimy travelling exhibit on display at the Strathcona County Museum and Archives. Also in the June 7 edition, to timely correspond with the anniversary date of the 75th anniversary of Juno Beach (June 6) we printed the story “Sherwood Park student to witness history first-hand on 75h anniversary of D-Day.” Can we do more coverage on Canada’s military history? Of course, but editorial assignments are based on events and issues happening in the community at that time. Thanks for reading.