Morinville Youth Council Bylaw passes first reading

by Tristan Turner

A Bylaw to creat a Morinville Youth Council received unanimous first reading at Council’s Aug. 25 meeting. The Bylaw was developed by Administration with the encouragement and direction of Councilor Brennan Fitzgerald, who has been championing the idea for some time.

This Bylaw, if taken through 2nd and 3rd reading, would create a Morinville Youth Council made up of youth aged 13 to 24. The Youth Council would report to Council on issues involving youth in the community, including writing and promoting policy and engaging youth to ‘support the general and overall well-being of youth.’

Council’s only discussion at First Reading regarded why the development of a Youth Council should be accomplished through a Bylaw and not some other method such as an appointed board or committee.

CAO Debbie Oyarzun told Council a Morinville Youth Council could be accomplished either way and that it is up to Council to determine if it should be done as an enshrined Bylaw or as a committee. She spoke to how typically bylaws have enforcements if they are broken, something that doesn’t apply in this case, but that it could still operate as a Bylaw regardless. Oyarzun also noted that once a Bylaw is passed, it is “on the books” and becomes more difficult to change without subsequent Bylaws, something that may be considered a positive.

Fitzgerald said he looks forward to moving ahead with the project and is excited about the development of the Youth Council. He also noted he felt it was best to move ahead with the Youth Council through a bylaw specifically.

“The Bylaw is to ensure the Youth Council’s future,” he told Morinville News after the meeting. “I want it to exist beyond any change in Administration or any change in Council, and a Bylaw really gives it some more legal standing.”

The mandate and requirements for membership in the Youth Council have not been identified as written. Those elements are to be decided by Council at 2nd and 3rd reading following consultations by the Town with the community, specifically parents and students.

Council will discuss the Bylaw and the validity of Morinville Youth Council being created via a bylaw mechanism, as well as the mandate and membership of the organization at the Sept 15 Committee of the Whole meeting. Second and Third reading of the bylaw would likely occur in October.

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