RDEK discussion ‘awkward’, Council says

Cranbrook councillor denied request for more discussion about contentious regional district votes

A councillor’s bid to have more input into Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) decisions has been defeated.

Coun. Angus Davis brought back a motion to Cranbrook city council on Monday, February 4 asking for more discussion among council before Cranbrook representatives vote at the RDEK board of directors.

The motion was first made at council’s January 21 meeting, but it was postponed until February when Mayor Wayne Stetski was back from vacation.

In the motion, Davis put forward that Mayor Stetski and Coun. Bob Whetham, who sit on the RDEK board, consult with the rest of council on “topics which are of significant interest locally” before they vote.

“I know you can’t do this literally all the time but there are many occasions where I read about it in the paper,” said Davis. “What brought this to my attention is the manner in which the regional district treated the new mayor of Jumbo.”

Last week, the regional district board voted to not pay travel and accommodation expenses for the mayor of Jumbo, set to be incorporated on February 19. The appointed mayor, Greg Deck, will have a seat at the board but will not be permitted to vote until the mountain resort municipality has a tax base of $30 million, or until 2017, whichever comes first.

Coun. Davis said he thinks the board is “shunning” the new mayor.

“When the regional district decides they are going to take steps to prevent the representatives of that municipality to enjoy being able to attend the regional district meeting, there is something wrong with that,” he said.

Coun. Gerry Warner said that the mayor of Jumbo is not the same as elected officials.

“I appreciate that Coun. Davis feels the municipality of Jumbo is being shunned to a certain extent, but Jumbo is not the same as every other municipality in the province. Jumbo has no people, in fact there is not even a road into Jumbo right now, so Jumbo is a special unique case.”

Coun. Diana J. Scott said it would be awkward for council to discuss RDEK motions prior to meetings, and instead suggested councillors review the board agendas ahead of time and pass on any comments to Mayor Stetski and Coun. Whetham.

“Maybe it would behove all of us to have a quick look at the agenda and what’s coming up. Regardless of how the two people from Cranbrook at the table vote, it would be nice for them to know what we think,” said Coun. Scott.

Mayor Stetski issued an invitation to council to provide input on RDEK motions.

“Anybody can read the agenda items ahead of time. I would invite all councillors to do that. It gives you the opportunity to bring your concerns forward to your two representatives,” he said.

However, it would be difficult to discuss motions as a council, Stetski went on.

“Things move very quickly at these meetings and it’s not always possible to bring back a motion.”

The motion was defeated, with Coun. Davis casting the only vote in its favour.