Involving the public in municipal decision-making

A message from Mayor Alanna Hnatiw

Over the last few weeks, Council has taken calls from residents asking questions about land use planning in the County. Many of these questions were prompted by misinformation circulating around 15-minute communities and attempts to connect these theories with land use plans such as the Regional Agriculture Master Plan (RAMP). We have also fielded questions regarding the Thorhild County Land Use Bylaw.

We appreciate the community reaching out to us as it shows us that they are thinking critically about what they are hearing and asking questions to get the truth. As we spoke with residents, one message that kept coming through is that people don’t believe they are involved enough in municipal government decisions.

To be clear, we encourage residents to ask questions and fact-check. However, despite our efforts, we often receive minimal input from the community. So, when I am hearing someone on social media telling people to get more involved in what their municipality is doing, I want to stand up and applaud.

If Sturgeon County wants the community to engage with us, we recognize some changes will need to be made to make information more understandable and accessible, like using plain language, especially for land use matters.

We also need to be more conscientious about having conversations where people are, not where we think they are or where we want them to be. This includes having the public comment on the proposed Public Notification Bylaw, which outlines how the County will notify the public about new bylaws, updates to the land use bylaw, and other matters coming before Council.

Microphone in the meeting room, where the light is bright night.

Sturgeon County wants people to be more engaged in municipal government decisions and we are always working on how to make it easier for people to participate.

However, lack of public engagement and feedback cannot result in paralysis: Council needs to make decisions with the data and input provided.

Here are just a few ways you can be involved as we continue to explore more options and opportunities

Council meetings: Council meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month unless otherwise advertised, starting at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers. They are also livestreamed. Meeting information, including agenda packages with proposed bylaws and bylaw amendments can be found at sturgeoncounty.ca/CouncilMeetings. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and listen to the meetings.

Public hearings: We hold public hearings for proposed bylaws and bylaws amendments related to land use planning matters.

  • We advertise public hearings via social media, our mobile app, along with  local newspapers and on our website.
  • You can provide input to Council in person, via videoconference, or in writing. Council relies on this input to make decisions.

Information sessions and open houses: We host a variety of information sessions and open houses throughout the year to share information, take questions, and hear resident feedback.
These sessions are posted on our events calendar  and are often shared on other communication channels.

#SturgeonCounty offices will be operating with reduced hours May 17, to accommodate a staff training event. Offices will re-open from 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

Fire Advisory: Due to dry conditions and a lack of precipitation, a fire advisory is now in effect for Sturgeon County as of April 3. 

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