Council asked to resign, recall petition later filed

Darcy Foster, left, and witness Jacob Donahue shortly before filing the recall petition Feb. 16.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

High Prairie town council was asked to resign in its entirety at the Feb. 13 meeting.

And on Feb. 16 at about 9:20 a.m., a recall petition was filed to remove Mayor Brian Panasiuk, and councillors Donna Deynaka and James Waikle. The petition was presented to CAO Bill McKennan.

Matters came to a boil at the meeting as delegation after delegation questioned council on its actions for over an hour. Everything from the hospital land deal, to theft in the Town’s recreation department, other land dealings and the hiring of the CAO’s son were a few of the concerns cited.

Some citizens were obviously not happy what they heard and filed the recall petition Feb. 16. Darcy Foster filed the petition and paid $1,500 fee ($500 for each name on three separate petitions) on behalf of concerned citizens while Jacob Donahue attended as a witness, although he added on social media he does support the petition.

No one from council has resigned.

Regarding the petition, only Waikle responded to requests for comments from South Peace News with Panasiuk and Deynaka remaining silent.

“There is a process in place and I will wait to see what the results of that process are,” Waikle emailed to South Peace News Feb. 16.

At the Feb. 13, meeting, Ron Shunter asked Councillor John Dunn to resign.

“He’s gotta go,” said Hunter, asking for a motion from council.

The request drew a chuckle from Panasiuk, replying it was a funny motion.

“No, it’s not,” stated Lori McKay.

Dunn responded in an email he has no intentions of resigning.

“. . .I am not resigning and have no intention of resigning. I will talk with the individual that asked for my resignation and determine what information he was basing his request on.”

Dunn then questioned the motives behind the request.

“What I am amazed at is that just as our town is starting to see economic growth and development there are people that are trying to build barriers to that success.”

Dunn said virtually nothing regarding people’s concerns at the Feb. 13 meeting, instead letting Panasiuk and CAO Bill McKennan speak while not engaging with the public.

At the meeting, Tammy Kaleta also asked council to resign.

“I have no confidence,” she said.

“All of you should be resigning,” she said to a round of applause.

Foster explained the recall petition on a social media post.

“It is a process to petition the provincial government (to) have those mentioned in the recall removed from their positions after the required signatures are filed and witnessed and returned to the (Government of Alberta) in the required time frame,” wrote Foster.

He hopes people will consider signing the petition so the public can go about correcting the issues that have arisen that Panasiuk, and most councillors, have refused to address or take accountability for, he wrote.

“If the councillors who have continued to support poor decisions that have been made would do the right thing, we won’t have to go through this costly process of time and effort to make the necessary changes,” Foster wrote.

“Whether they do or not this process is going through and the community’s concerns will be addressed properly. There will be no more dismissing the citizens of this community as has occurred up until today,” concluded Foster.

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