October 19th, 2020

Let citizens have chance to vote on recycling


By Lethbridge Herald on May 30, 2017.

I attended a recent city council meeting where, by a vote of four to three, council determined that receiving over 4,100 citizen signatures wasn’t enough to convince them the issue of the blue bin recycling program should be submitted to a referendum in the upcoming municipal election (I should note that councillors Iwaskiw and Coffman were unable to vote because of illness).
Unfortunately, the presentation of the group seeking a citizen vote on the issue devolved into a bit of a sideshow as to “who said what, to whom, and when,” resulting in the true issue being somewhat lost. The written document submitted to council simply recited the facts regarding what had been approved by council and the fact that council had voted on the issue a number of times. It is important to note the last council vote prior to the one approving the program was a “no” vote, even though, according to senior administration, nothing had changed when the issue resurfaced to transform into a “yes” vote.
There was also confusion raised by one council spokesperson who suggested the 10 per cent of the population threshold was not reached for the “petition.” That representative was conflating two separate provisions of the Municipal Government Act. The one dealing with petitions does refer to the threshold and, if the threshold and timelines are met, it requires a vote of the citizens which is binding on city council. The request that was before council dealt with a completely different provision of the Act which didn’t have threshold requirements; it was simply asking council to put the vote requested before the electors. Under this provision, council is not bound by any such vote.
In short, the citizens who appeared before council were asking them to submit a specific and simple question to voters at the next election, being: “Are you in favour of the blue bin curbside recycling program approved by city council?”
Nobody is against recycling as is evidenced by the buy-in of citizens in the existing recycling depots and the utilization of the current private curbside recycling providers. What citizens are asking for is the chance to vote on an issue that has divided council previously. If the vote is “yes,” everyone can rest easy that they had a chance to vote on it at least once. If the vote is “no,” council can ignore it.
Council had numerous chances to vote on the issue; please let the citizens have one chance to do so.
Rajko Dodic
Lethbridge

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snowman

The citizens have asked many times to be heard have proper meetings like the city council gave the Industrial, Commercial ,institutional and CD also the three meetings with recycling contractors. Ask how many meetings were held with the residential group the big payers of the $15million plus payments on their property tax bill , nothing. you see the Council response. The Citizens have requested a Citizen Assembly to have a fair process on the proposed Residential Curbside Recycling (Blue Cart) were refused by Mayor letter, no democracy.
We understand the fiduciary responsibility of Council but can you say there is misrepresentation,collusion, conflict of interest, violation of policies and procedures their documents of ethical Government, responsibility to the Citizens /taxpayers quoted in the Municipal government Act.
The citizens should request the Minister of Municipal Affairs to send in George Cuff to investigate.

Montreal13

Good points snowman. If you get that letter off to the minister let us know how it goes.
Next council can overturn this council’s vote on this issue. So it is still an election issue.
Hopefully some of this council will not be running again.
I think it may be a case of I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Where different levels of government come together on a decision that is in both of their best interests?

snowman

Special interest groups will decide in upcoming election who will represent in council the gang of five will no doubt be successful again to do their dirt. You must look at the amount of debt they have dumpted on taxpayers in their past term then decide.
The petition should be taken to a application of the court for a decision on the constitutional right of a citizen vote on ballot in upcoming election on Residential Curbside recycling and validity of borrowing bylaw.

Montreal13

could you spearhead such an application or organize a group to do so, as you seem to know about such a process or more than others. please let us know if and when you put in such an application.
thanks.

snowman

m13 what you say is your group will let petition die hoping the new council will kill curbside, mrf, borrowing bylaw etc ,what a waste of time. now dump it on somebody else, right.