page contents Vote Dylan Bressey, candidate for Grande Prairie City Council. Election 2017. page contents

Talking to Council

I’ve seen a lot of conversation about our last Council meeting which approved an urban hen pilot program.

If you haven't read it yet, here is a link with my thinking on the issue. I know a number of people disagree with my viewpoint. I respect that, I understand the concerns, and I am glad to hear those concerns expressed.

However, there is one concern I've heard a lot of flap about that I just can't get behind. It is along the line of “there are far more important issues- stop spending time on chickens.”

I agree that there are far more important issues before Council. In my mind, top issues include finding better value for our tax payers, improving the City’s citizen service practices, responding to the opiod crisis, successfully negotiating service agreements with regional municipalities, and doing a great job of managing our infrastructure.

I disagree with the sentiment that these are the only issues Council should consider.

Council needs to spend most of its time on these hugely important, very big picture topics. But that isn’t the only place we should spend our time. An effective Council can and should multi-task well. And it should spend some of its time on smaller scale quality of life and community improvement issues. Small pet projects make a big difference to many of our citizens.

More importantly, Council needs to allow its citizens to impact its agenda and focus.

We have a practice of allowing anyone who wishes to address a City Council or a Council Committee meeting. And when a delegation comes, we listen. We discuss what was shared. Whether or not we follow the delegation’s suggestions, we spend time considering them. I never want to see this changed. When any citizen brings up a topic, we should listen. And if citizens are willing to put significant time and energy into a focus area, Council should engage them.

Urban Hens is an organized group of volunteers. They are passionate. They have educated themselves. They meet regularly. They get community members out to education classes. They spent countless hours developing a bylaw and policy for the City to consider. They’ve presented at Council Committees. Two times this month they packed the gallery at a City Council meeting. They’ve also sent dozens of emails and made many phone calls to Council.

This work deserved a response. This kind of passion and community organisation is vital. We need more of it in our community. I am eggcited to see it. And I think Council would be way offside to refuse to engage with it.

It would’ve been well within Council’s authority and mandate to not approve an urban hens pilot program. But in my mind, it would have been completely inappropriate for Council to ignore this the Urban Hens' group effort by refusing to discuss the issue.

A big reason I ran for office is because I want to encourage people to be engaged in the work of Council. I won’t always support the suggestions people make to Council. But I will always support those people showing up and making their views and desires heard. I will also always encourage Council to spend time considering what was shared.

If you ever want to present to Council, I have some information about how to do that posted here.

I’d also love to hear from you directly. If you want to talk online, a great place to find me is in the GP Round Table Facebook group. However, I always prefer a conversation over a cup of coffee or on the phone- I’ll meet with or talk to anyone who is interested.

Thanks for reading.

And sorry for the puns- I’ve been too chicken to use them throughout this fowl debate. But now I need to chirp them out- my pluckish sense of humor just can’t be cooped up any longer.