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Jasper council 2017-2021 gets to work

Jasper town Councillor Jenna McGrath takes the oath of office during a ceremony at the Lobstick Lodge on Oct. 27. Jasper RCMP detachment commander Sgt. Rick Bidaisee looks on. McGrath’s new council colleagues applaud in the background, waiting their turn. | C. Gilbert photo

by Evan Matthews |

New town councillors prepared to get down to business in Jasper next week.

Jasper’s 2017-2021 municipal council held its first organizational meeting of the term on Monday, Oct. 30.

All members were present with the exception of Bert Journault.

The new council opted to keep the scheduling of meetings the same, council on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Quorum Room downstairs at the library, and committee of the whole meetings the second and fourth Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

“No one has mentioned that we should have meetings in the evening… It’s the first time I haven’t seen someone suggest it on the campaign trail,” said Councillor Rico Damota.

“It’s harder on administration… We found even with switching the day, Tuesday ends up back as the default day. If Tuesdays don’t work, we can collectively look at a change.”

Mayor Richard Ireland echoed Coun. Damota, saying if for some reason council decides to have an evening meeting it can do so.

“We’re not locked in,” said Ireland.

Council tentatively agreed on council board and committees (see sidebar), though council is to confirm the draft at its first meeting.

Council also finalized its deputy mayor schedule. The deputy mayor will also act as chairperson during Committee of the Whole meetings.

During the last council’s term, councillors spent eight months as deputy mayor before rotating to the next councillor. Councillor Helen Kelleher-Empey expressed that she thought eight months was too long, with both Mayor Ireland and Coun. Damota agreeing.

Council decided to have councillors on a rotation, serving two months as deputy mayor before rotating to another councillor. Over a four-year term, the change still equates to eight months served by each councillor as deputy mayor.

The Sept. 25, Nov. 21 and Dec. 25 meetings — all in 2018 — cannot be held due to Alberta Urban Municipalities Conventions and, of course, statutory holidays.

Council will meet around this time next year to re-assess how things have gone to date on the respective boards.

The first regular meeting of the new council’s term will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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