by Tristan Turner

In a unanimous decision (excluding the absent Councillor Rob Ladouceur) Council has passed Councillor Stephen Dafoe’s motion to create a Terms of Reference for a new Community Services Advisory Board.

The motion followed a presentation by Chris Fish, Morinville’s Community Services Business and Operations Manager on different options for what a potential community services board could look like, including overviews and the pros and cons of different board types, and how they have been implemented in nearby municipalities. Fish’s report was developed as a result of a previous information request from Councillor Dafoe.

The two primary options presented to Council in the report were an Advisory Board or an Operating Board. An Operations Board was identified as having more legal power and independence, but also more costly and with less flexibility and more bureaucratic baggage. Meanwhile, advisory boards were presented as having more flexibility and efficiency, but with limited authority.

Council had a few questions for clarity on the board’s role (providing some community direction to community service) and makeup (members of the public) but quickly offered unanimous support for the motion.

Deputy Mayor Barry Turner thought the board could help provide a service to existing community groups.

“I think the time has come to take a look at establishing this type of committee,” he said. “We’ve seen a number of gatherings in the community… meetings of community groups that have some common issues in terms of volunteer recruitment, coordination of events, and some could use support in terms of development of their local group. I haven’t yet seen any development based around those things, and I’ve also seen the same [concerns from community groups] come up again and again. I think that’s part of the role that this board could fill.”

Dafoe’s motion directed Administration to return to Council with the terms of reference after the summer break.

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