Wheatland looking into possible conflict of interest
Residents in the Rockyford area are concerned after a Wheatland County Councillor may have improperly participated in a discussion and vote over an issue where there appears to be a conflict to of interest.
Wheatland resident Eileen Walker contacted the Drumheller Mail in regards to a Wheatland Council discussion of a compost facility and a decision to test and monitor the facility. Her concern is the land in question is owned by the mother of Councillor Brenda Knight.
Walker said about 70 showed up at the meeting for a discussion of the Bio Can site, where neighbours say the stench has become unbearable. Council voted to contract Calgary Airshed Zone for $4,675 to monitor the air for one month this summer.
Walker says that Knight voting jeopardizes the integrity of the Wheatland County.
Reeve Glenn Koester confirms that Knight participated in the vote and discussion.
“Her mother is the owner of the land the site is on, but they don’t operate the site,” said Koester.
According to the Municipal Government Act, a councillor must disclose whether they have a pecuniary interest, abstain from voting on any question relating to the matters and abstain from the discussion of the matter. A pecuniary interest is if the matter could monetarily affect the councillor, and employer of the councillor or the councillor’s family.
“The only redress the Council has is to go to the Court of Queen’s Bench and have a judge look at it,” said Koester.
He says he wishes to address the issue.
“I would certainly like to address it. It is an integrity and credibility issue for the whole council,” he said.