Public Safety Committee conversation leaves future unclear

by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent

A long conversation from Council during their Committee of the Whole meeting Nov. 15 about the future of the Traffic Advisory Committee and a potential new general public safety committee leaves the future of both vague.

The discussion was brought to the committee by Councillor Stephen Dafoe, who first brought up the idea of a new public safety committee during the photo enforcement policy discussions. Dafoe’s idea was to create a committee or board responsible for connecting Morinville’s different community safety organizations on a semi-regular basis. Dafoe suggested Citizens on Patrol, Sturgeon Victim Services, The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation, and Sturgeon Rural Crime Watches as some obvious groups to sit around the table.

Dafoe commented that right now these groups don’t communicate about problems that they may have a lot of common ground on and that this important communication was a priority for him.

The idea was well received generally by the remaining members of Council, though there was a great deal of discussion about what form such an organization should take, as well as what the state of the current Traffic Advisory Committee should be, especially in the context of a new group.

Mayor Holmes felt that making a new official committee might put an additional strain on some of the likely members of the committee, such as local RCMP Detachment Staff Sergeant Riz Suleman.

This sentiment was acknowledged by the rest of council, with Dafoe agreeing that that may be possible and that another potential solution would be to simply liaise a meeting between the various public safety groups.

The key for Dafoe was that Council should focus on organizing a process that these groups would be supportive of and have buy-in. The next step in this process is direct consultation between councillors and these groups.

The Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) was also a topic of discussion, with Council pondering potential changes to the committee, including a new change that would allow the committee to appoint their own members, rather than have them approved by Council. Councillor Nicole Boutestein brought up a concern with this in that it would single out the application process for TAC, making it different than any other committee. Councillor Dafoe suggested instead that perhaps the committee should approve of its own members and simply have council ratify their choice, similarly to how members of the library board are chosen. This received approving nods from across Council.
No substantial decisions on either committee were made that night, as Council can not make decisions when meeting as Committee of the Whole, but the discussion sheds some light on the potential future for both the TAC and a potential new general public safety committee at future council meetings.

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