The division boundaries are changing in the RM of McKillop, near Last Mountain Lake, and while the local ratepayers’ association is hopeful, the reeve says it’s not going to solve anything.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Government Relations announced the minister has accepted the application from the RM to change the boundaries of the electoral divisions, triggering an election for all six council seats in the municipality. This stems from a referendum that was part of October’s election.
June LeDrew is with the local ratepayers’ association and said she’s ecstatic about the announcement.
“There were a few hiccups along the way after that referendum, so we are very pleased today about the minister’s decision.”
LeDrew said the changes will help to even out the divisions. She explained that, previously, there were a couple of divisions with only 70 ratepayers while another had about 1,000.
“The ones that we were using were 108 years old. That was before the Titanic sank to the bottom. We were paying 12 cents for a dozen eggs and stuff – it was sorely in need of change.”
Since the boundaries for all the divisions are changing, there will have to be an election for each one.
LeDrew said she hopes, with the new council elected in February, the problems the council and RM have had recently will be over. Link;
“We have hope that our RM is going to move forward into the future, settle down, our taxes will be reasonable, and our budgets will be sound and justified.
Reeve says farmers, resort villages have different priorities
The reeve of the RM, on the other hand, doesn’t think the boundary changes are going to do anything.
“The underlying issues have not, or will not, go away by just changing where the boundaries are. They go well beyond just who lives where,” said Reeve Harold Arndt.
While LeDrew believes the issues in the RM stem from those running it, Arndt believes the issues come from cultural differences, and differences in priorities between two groups – the farmers in the RM and the people who live some or all of the year in the resort villages.
He said the farmers are the majority in the RM and their needs don’t jibe with those of the ratepayers in the villages, but the farmers have had to pay more and more for those needs.
Arndt believes the real solution to the RM’s problems would have been for the province to amalgamate the hamlets and resort villages near Last Mountain Lake – then they could run themselves – but that’s not what happened.
“At the end of the day this is solving nothing, and it will come back … what the province has done is actually, probably wakened a sleeping giant, and that being the agricultural community who see their way of life threatened.”
Arndt said he thinks the minister of government relations took the easy way out in just accepting what the referendum proposed.
The RM will hold its election for the new divisions on Feb. 27, 2019, and Anrdt said the current council will continue its work until then.