McLennan council agrees to downsize

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The next Town of McLennan council will be comprised of only five members.

Council agreed to the downsizing at its May 13 meeting after unanimously passing its Municipal Council Bylaw.

The next council after the Oct. 20, 2025 municipal election will be comprised of an elected mayor and four elected councillors, not six as in the past.

Debate at the May 13 meeting was similar to discussion at the April 8 meeting when first reading was given to the bylaw. The argument to remain at seven or reduce to five was presented.

Councillor Margaret Jacob spoke in favour of the status quo.

“I object to reducing the number of people on council,” she said, stating the two extra people provides more views and debate.

“And there’s less risk of cliques developing,” she added.

“One decision (vote) can make all the difference,” she added, saying the more councillors the more perspective presented.

Councillor Maggie Gervais noted council agreed the issue was cost and passing along a savings to taxpayers. She challenged Jacob on that issue.

It is estimated council would save $3,600 in regular meetings each year by reducing to five. Jacob said she thought the figure was closer to $5,000.

Mayor Jason Doris favoured the reduction.

“My feeling is there are a lot of municipalities doing this,” he said.

“We’re not talking about a lot of dollars but a savings is a saving. Every dollar counts.”

He added five could represent the town as well as seven.

Jacob added the other reason some towns and villages were reducing was because they could not get enough people to run for office. Such has not been the recent case at McLennan.

A historical perspective was also asked.

“Have we always (had) seven?” asked Gervais.

CAO Lorraine Willier replied they had, to her knowledge.

Council also heard if five members did not work to their satisfaction, they could bring back the bylaw and return to seven.

Councillor Sue Delauriers also favoured going to five members, saying people could serve the town in other ways by serving on boards.

“I think we should try it,” she said. “You don’t know until you try it.”

A public hearing before the meeting drew little feedback. Council heard some people were confused thinking the reduction on council would occur immediately.

At the April 8 meeting, Gervais spoke about cutting costs.

“If we’re serious about cutting costs we have to start somewhere.”

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