It’s been a rocky few weeks for Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne and the rest of city council.
Things came to a head at a special council meeting on Mar. 23 when Councillor Terra Lennox-Zepp put forward a motion calling on the city to immediately suspend water shut offs for residents in arrears, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillors Ted Zurakowski and Blake Edwards immediately left the meeting, so the motion lacked quorum to pass, and Dionne stated he disagreed with its content.
By Mar. 25, both the Prince Albert Grand Council and an online petition were publicly urging mayor and council to reconsider their stance on water shut offs.
Later that day, Dionne told another media outlet that in fact no water shut offs had been performed since the previous week and there won’t be any in the immediate future.
Although pleased water shut offs in the city have been suspended for the time being, Lennox-Zepp said this is not the way council should be conducting its business and the public deserves better.
“I think it’s frustrating for the public that we are conducting business in this way,” she said. “I think that the public wants their democratically elected officials to be able to pursue motions, debate topics and then make decisions and that process is not happening.”
Council returns to chambers Monday evening for its regular monthly meeting with councillors having the option of joining the meeting remotely.
Lennox-Zepp also put forward a motion on Mar. 23 for council meetings to be held electronically as a way of meeting provincial social distancing measures and limits on numbers in public gatherings during the pandemic.
Yet, this motion was also defeated and since the meeting both Zurakowski and Edwards have accused the Ward Two Councillor of “grandstanding.”
Lennox-Zepp said the accusation is totally inaccurate.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. I am advancing important issues, public issues of public safety because I want these motions to pass. And the public is calling me, urging me to advocate for many of these motions.”
Lennox-Zepp said she based the motions on similar ones that had already been passed in Regina and Saskatoon.
(PHOTO: Prince Albert Ward Two Councillor Terra Lennox-Zepp. Photo courtesy Terra Lennox-Zepp Facebook page.)