When Botha residents went to poll on Monday, May 15, 91 per cent of the voters were certain that they wanted to opt out of the Village of Botha, and join the county as a hamlet.
As 52 out of the 57 voters, voted in favour of dissolving the Village of Botha, it was a clear message to the Minister of Municipal Affairs that they had chosen option 2, that Botha becomes a hamlet within the County of Stettler.
Because both Botha Council and now Botha residents in a large majority, have voted for dissolution, the Minister of Municipal Affairs must now recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and Cabinet, that the village be dissolved and will set a date of dissolution.
This will likely take at least six weeks. The County of Stettler will assume control over the village effective on that date.
“I was excited, relieved, and gratified to see that an overwhelming majority of the residents of Botha voted to become a hamlet,” said Village of Botha Mayor, Flo Iskiw. “Our council believed this was the best option for our village, and now the residents have agreed that we can all move forward together.”
Botha’s viability issues came to the forefront in 2015 when residents of the village presented a petition to Botha Council asking Municipal Affairs to investigate the viability of the village.
The village council went ahead and requested a viability review be undertaken. The process was slowed down by the Botha’s struggles to hire a CAO, file their financial statements and fill a vacant council seat.
The Botha Viability Plan was completed by Municipal Affairs in February of 2017 and residents were presented with a report outlining the options.
The village council, after reviewing the report and listening to the concerns and opinions of the villagers, requested a vote on the question of dissolution from the Minister of Municipal Affairs on March 1, 2017.
Botha has been under contract to the County of Stettler for the provision of both administrative and utility services for the village.
“As we all know change is never easy, but the residents of Botha have recognized that this change will benefit our community in tremendous ways,” Iskiw added. “I have always believed that communities are not defined by the location of your administration building or a line on a map, but by the people who work to build it, and Botha will always remain a great community to live and raise a family.”
County of Stettler Reeve Wayne Nixon said, “I think the decision made by Botha to become a hamlet in the County of Stettler is a win-win for both Botha and the County of Stettler.
“Residents of Botha should realize some savings in residential taxes and the county becomes more viable by an increase in population. And at the end of the day – Botha will remain Botha.”