Dissolution issue takes new turn

The matter of the dissolution of Donalda as a municipal entity has taken a new turn with new revelations and statements coming from both parties to a dispute over the sale of a plot of land.

It has now emerged that the petition, which was originally signed by more than 80 people, did not aim to have a dissolution study launched, but to have the village council and the chief administrative officer of the village investigated for their conduct.

Lorrie Shepherd, who purchased part of a disputed plot but has not had her deed issued, initiated a petition in January and collected 83 names and signatures asking Municipal Affairs to investigate the chief executive officer and council.

While the village sold half of one lot to the Shepherds with a promise to subdivide it, the official title for the land was not issued, prompting Shepherds to campaign for signatures for the petition.

However, Municipal Affairs Minister Ray Danyluk denied the request expressed in the petition, and instead, ordered a dissolution study of the village under the Municipal Government Act.

Lee White, another Donalda resident, said when he signed the petition he never knew that the issue of dissolution would come up.

“The petition that I signed had nothing to do with dissolving the village. If it did, myself and most of the residents who signed it would not have,” he said in a letter to the editor drafted for publication.

As he handed the letter to the Independent editorial office, White said their purpose was to have the conduct of the village council scrutinized.

“They should have had their financial statement in April, we haven’t seen it yet,” he said in reference to why the residents wanted to have the village executive to be investigated.

Peter Simons, chief administrative officer of the village, for his part, agreed that the number of signatories to the petition quoted in the earlier article on dissolution issue was incorrect.

“It is also worth noting that the ‘35 residents’ number references a previous petition received by the village in October, 2008 which requested “Dissolution of the Municipal District of Donalda” and which was initiated by Mr. Murry Jameson, a Donalda resident, as representative of the petitioners. This petition was necessarily deemed insufficient as it requested a legal impossibility (there is no “Municipal District of Donalda”), nor would it have been a sufficient petition for dissolution as it would not have met the required number of signatures stipulated by the Municipal Government Act. With respect to this prior petition, I would also note that Village Council made several attempts to have the representative of the petitioners and any other interested local residents present their issues and concerns and in both cases no one took them up on their offer,” said Simons in his letter to the Independent.

If dissolved, the village of about 224 residents would become a hamlet under the County of Stettler.

Now council and administration are waiting to hear from the provincial government about the next step in the process to determine the future of the village.

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