The County of Stettler council has a new policy to handle complaints.
Brought before council during their Jan. 12, 2022, meeting, the new policy is designed to solidify the already “consistent approach” taken by administration where it comes to dealing with ratepayer complaints.
Introduced as part of this policy is a new section on “managing unreasonable conduct of complainants,” an addition recommended by the provincial Ombudsman.
The policy introduced an escalating approach, where complaints are made to staff and then escalated to the chief administrative officer (CAO) or reeve as appropriate.
In cases of unreasonable conduct by a complainant, depending on the situation, the CAO and affected staff member will determine appropriate action up to and including restriction of access to county services.
Originally drafted, the policy stated that if the conduct continued, or the previous decision was appealed, another senior level staff member could step in to try to resolve the issue, however after discussion by council, an amendment proposed by Coun. Justin Stevens was added.
The amendment strikes escalating the appeal to other senior staff, instead referring the situation to a third-party, neutral, mediator.
“If it gets to that point I would like to see it automatically go to a third party,” said Stevens, during the discussion.
The amendment was carried.
Council received a delegation by a resident living along Scollard Road.
Resident Doreen Mappin attended the meeting to discuss several issues with the road; namely the high amount of dust during the summer, the large gravel placed by the county impacting the life of tires and the soft shoulders where the county narrowed the road.
“Many people have complained about the number of flat tires they have had in the last bit,” said Mappin.
“People are unable to enjoy their patio. They are unable to dry their clothes on the clothesline. They are wary to drive on the road for fear of meeting a gravel truck or an oil truck.”
Mappin stated that she is concerned about the health effects of the dust on the people living along the road, as well as the animals.
“We have lost one bull, and have been treating one cow and one bull from summer dust effects,” said Mappin.
“The constant dust hovering day in and day out can cause (the issues) … I ended up being treated for pneumonia at Stettler Hospital. This is impacting all of our lives.”
Ideally, with Scollard Road being a designated haul road, Mappin would like to see it paved.
Unfortunately, council doesn’t see the numbers being adequate to being worth paving.
“I don’t know what we can do if the numbers aren’t there,” said Coun. Dave Grover.
Since it has been several years since Scollard Road has been reviewed by the county, council agreed that the first step in looking at the issue would be having another traffic study done, which could be done in the summer.
Red Willow truck fill
The Red Willow truck fill station was knocked out of service on Christmas Eve, and remained that way until the week of the council meeting due to supply chain issues.
“It definitely challenged us over the holidays,” said director of municipal services Andrew Brysiuk.
“We struggled with the vendor to get that worked out.”
Brysiuk noted that the user identification number used to access the Red Willow truck fill station can be used at any Shirley McClellan Regional Water Services Commission or County of Stettler truck fill station in the region, which does give users other options when Red Willow is down.