by Tristan Turner
At the Dec. 12 Council meeting, Morinville’s Director of Planning and Development, Greg Hofmann presented on Bylaw 15/2017, which acts to amend the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) Bylaw to limit the number of councillors that can sit on the board to one. This change comes following new provincial rules that impose the limit on councillors across the province.
Hofmann explained the reasoning for this change provincially was that the appeal board is essentially a “quasi-judicial committee” in that they made rulings on development appeals, rather than develop policy proposals or other legislative roles. Hofmann noted that it is looked down upon for lawmakers to stand in judgement of their own laws, which is what has been historically allowed by provincial legislation by allowing any number of councillors to serve on these boards.
Deputy Mayor Dafoe asked Hofmann “what reasoning could you offer for having any member of council [on the SDAB]”, wondering why council shouldn’t just be limited from sitting on the board at all.”
Hofmann noted that his reasoning for proposing still allowing one member to sit on the board lies in it being a “trial run” of this change, but noted that the legislation simply allows one councillor to the board, and that one did not necessarily need to sit on the board. Hofmann also admitted that there might be limited value on having a councillor on the board because unlike other boards, there is not the usual need of a councillor to report policy/procedural information to council. Often in the past, many SDAB’s across the province were made up of councillors simply because it was “challenging to find qualified individuals willing to sit [on SDAB’s]” though Hofmann does not expect that to be an issue in Morinville.
Council passed First Reading Unanimously, then approved another motion to consider Second and Third Reading that evening, before passing Second and Third Reading, both unanimously.