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Beaver Boardwalk Committee set to meet in July

Masha Scheele

July will see the first meeting of the Beaver Boardwalk Committee (BeBo Committee) to discuss the future of the Beaver Boardwalk project.

Council appointed Mayor Marcel Michaels, Coun. Albert Ostashek, and Coun. Dewly Nelson with Coun. JoAnn Race as an alternate to the BeBo Committee during the regular council meeting on July 9.

These members of the committee are responsible for formulating a vision regarding the Beaver Boardwalk (BBW) and present this vision to Council for discussion and adoption prior to the BeBo Committee’s third meeting.

Members will utilize, and seek additional input from stakeholders and matter experts to formulate recommendations for approval by Council on service levels, maintenance, rehabilitation, and financial and budgetary impacts.

“This is meant to be only a six month committee and I think it lays the foundation of what community engagement looks like and what imagining the space looks like. Within the terms of reference we will be reaching out to stakeholders to figure out what the best next steps are. I think whatever the next steps for the Beaver Boardwalk are, will heavily involve the citizens,” said Nelson.

The community can provide feedback to the committee for them to take into consideration when bringing forth recommendations to Council.

Coun. Race did not agree with forming a committee solely from council members and felt citizens should have a seat at the committee table.

“Working with the community, in my opinion, would offer us way more success than tackling this alone. When I say alone, the citizens voice is not at the table,” said Race.

Mayor Marcel Michaels echoed the concern for citizens at the table, but said this was a good alternative option.

“Stakeholders are clearly defined in the terms of reference and we’re going to be able to engage and speak to residents of all sorts in this committee,” said Michaels.

“The only reason I will be voting yes to this unanimous consent is that I do not want to delay the process and with it being summer we will not be meeting again until August, so the process will be delayed. I do want to say again, and again, what a missed opportunity not having citizens part of this conversation actually sitting at the table,” said Race when it came time to move forward with the committee.

Addressing the citizens participation concern, Ostashek commented that having only a select few citizens on the committee limits the scope of input to those members only.

In the past, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), consultants and the public have given feedback and recommendations to council.

As a committee of Council, the BeBo Committee can function under established regulation and effectively support Council to come to well-informed and timely decisions regarding this community asset. 

The agenda stated in case of a desire to utilize capital budget funds in 2020, a timeline completion in November 2019 is required.