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Notice of motion causes RVC council chaos

Frustrations ran high as Rocky View County council struggled through a notice of motion during its Oct. 22 meeting. File Photo/Rocky View Publishing

Tensions arose during Rocky View County (RVC) council’s regular meeting Oct. 22, after council became deadlocked over a notice of motion.

Presented by Coun. Samanntha Wright and seconded by Coun. Crystal Kissel, the notice of motion sought to determine the feasibility of creating authorized truck haul routes in order to “minimize the negative impacts from heavy traffic on County roads” for reasons of both safety and maintenance.

“My concern is, what route are [trucks] taking?” Wright said. “I’ve already had complaints. All summer long, my phone was ringing off the hook – ‘Why are the gravel trucks coming through Bearspaw Road and using Burma [Road]?’”

Under council’s new Procedure Bylaw, adopted in September, when a notice of motion is read into the record, council must pass a resolution if it desires administration to bring back a report – previously, staff reported back automatically. According to Grant Kaiser, executive director of Business and Community Connections, all notices of motion go to council for debate, with or without a report.

Coun. Kim McKylor said she was confused by two conflicting dates included in the notice of motion – the beginning indicated it was to be debated at the Nov. 26 council meeting, but the body of the notice of motion directed staff to prepare a report no later than Feb. 15, 2020.

Administration displayed a motion directing it to prepare a report on the notice of motion and present it when the matter is debated Nov. 26. Verbally, Wright moved the matter “be debated at the Nov. 26 council meeting,” but when Boehlke clarified she intended to remove that date from the motion, she nodded her agreement.

Boehlke called the question, and he, Wright, Kissel and Hanson voted in favour, with the majority of council voting against it. However, Boehlke indicated the motion was carried, sparking more confusion. He then corrected himself, saying the motion failed, but McKylor interjected to once again voice her confusion on the date.

“We just said February [and] we’re going to remove Nov. 26,” she said. “This motion is about Nov. 26, so which is it?”

With public hearings scheduled to begin, Boehlke asked for a motion to table the item, and council voted unanimously to set the notice of motion aside until after the public hearings.

When the item was revisited, Coun. Jerry Gautreau raised a point of order, saying he felt the motion had already been defeated and should not have additional discussion.

“We called the question…and [it] has already been voted and defeated, and yet we tabled [it], and we come back to it and have a discussion,” he said.

Boehlke said he’d “take the blame,” saying he’d gotten mixed up and asked the previous decision be rescinded. Schule pointed out the prevailing side had to rescind the motion, but initially, none of the councillors in the majority acted to make such a motion.

Boehlke appeared frustrated, muttering “Jesus” under his breath. Schule suggested Wright bring back a similar notice of motion at a future meeting “that’s worded properly; let’s not debate what has been done, what hasn’t.” Shortly after, as council and administration tried to determine to proceed, Schule requested a recess, “So we can sort this out.”

“You know what? You guys are making this really difficult and you don’t need to do this,” Boehlke responded.

“This is a matter of somebody on the prevailing side can make a motion here, and it doesn’t have to be this game playing.”

Schule took exception to the comment, and rebutted that he “was not playing games,” before he and Boehlke abruptly exited council chambers in opposite directions and council went on break.

Hoggan advised council a failed motion can’t be rescinded, but a new motion could be made with a new date for a report on the notice of motion. During the break, he elaborated that a new motion could be worded that a report be brought back “prior to Dec. 10.”

When council returned, McKylor moved that the defeated motion be reconsidered – the Procedure Bylaw does permit a previously passed or defeated motion to be reconsidered, so long as it occurs at the same meeting as the original decision and the motion to reconsider comes from a member of the prevailing side.

The motion carried 6-3, with Gautreau, Schule and Coun. Daniel Henn opposed.

Wright then moved that administration prepare a report in response to the notice of motion for the Nov. 26 council meeting. The motion was defeated 5-4, with Boehlke, Wright, Kissel and Hanson in support.

During the meeting, Schule indicated he had concerns about the budget implications and tried to ask whether such a project was “a lot of work for staff” and “doable,” but was advised by Boehlke that question could be answered when the notice of motion was debated.

Although council defeated the motion to have staff prepare a report on the matter, the item will still be debated Nov. 26.

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