Borrowing bylaw delayed to look at validity of petition

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer

Claresholm town council will not proceed with a borrowing bylaw for $2.8 million to convert the former Claresholm Elementary School building into a new town hall and community multi-use facility until the validity of a petition has been determined.

At its June 11 meeting, council was set to entertain second and possibly third reading of the borrowing bylaw when Mayor Doug MacPherson advised council the item will be taken off agenda.

The reason for that is a petition of electors was received that same day of June 11 by Marian Carlson, the town’s chief administrative officer. That petition seeks a plebiscite, or vote, on whether the town should borrow the $2.8 million.

She explained any petition must be filed with the chief administrative officer, who will determine if the petition is sufficient.

The chief administrative officer now has 45 days to declare whether the petition is sufficient or insufficient. The Municipal Government Act outlines what constitutes sufficiency.

A petition must have signatures of at least 10 per cent of population of electors. An elector in this case is someone eligible to vote within the Town of Claresholm, so that now excludes people from the Municipal District of Willow Creek, Town of Granum or Stavely, or any other municipality.

Other requirements include the printed surname and printed given names or initials of the petitioner; the petitioner’s signature; the street address of the petitioner or the legal description of the land on which the petitioner lives; the petitioner’s telephone number or e-mail address, if any, and the date on which the petitioner signs the petition.

Each signature must be witnessed by an adult person who must sign opposite the signature of the petitioner, and take an affidavit that to the best of the person’s knowledge the signatures witnessed are those of persons entitled to sign the petition.

If any of these items are missing, that petitioner will be excluded from the petition. If the petition is declared sufficient, council then has two options.

They can withdraw the bylaw altogether, or they can hold a plebiscite with a clear question within 90 days, as governed by the Local Authorities Election Act.

Carlson said she would have more information once she reviewed the petition.