An Alberta Municipal Affairs inspection of Donalda was postponed by one week in light of the tragic deaths of three local snowmobilers.
A three-person inspection team had planned to come to the village this week to review municipal operations, meet with residents and staff and observe a village council meeting.
They will now come to the community, about 40 km northeast of Stettler, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Disgruntled Donalda residents first petitioned for a municipal inspection in 2009. The Municipal Affairs minister at the time instead ordered a dissolution study to determine if the village of 250 should remain its own municipality or become a hamlet under the County of Stettler.
Residents voted 75 per cent in favour of remaining a village in March 2010 and dissolution was dropped.
Mayor Bruce Gartside said he’s not sure why the inspection wasn’t undertaken two years ago, but suspects it was because a previous inspection had been done in 2003.
“Last May, they said, ‘OK, we’ll do an inspection,’ which was what we asked for in the first place.” Municipal Affairs then decided to hold off until after an election to avoid influencing the results.
When the petition was organized, there was much concern about how the community was being run. There was also dissatisfaction that an anticipated subdivision project was going nowhere, said Gartside, who was among those to sign the petition.
Since then, the town has a new chief administrative officer, and mayor and council.
Gartside is not sure how deeply the government team will delve into past problems, but he believes the inspection will prove useful.
“I welcome it,” he said, adding he knows some people in town would like to speak with inspectors about their concerns.
Municipal Affairs spokesman Jerry Ward said although the 2003 inspection “did not find anything improper, irregular or improvident, a number of administrative recommendations were made to the village council for consideration.”
When the petition arrived in 2009, former minister Ray Danyluk “decided it would be more appropriate to undertake a dissolution study for the village because the recommendations from the previous inspection did not resolve the issues in the village.”
The inspection was ordered after the minister decided not to go ahead with dissolution.
Donalda was thrown into mourning last week when a father and son, from just outside Donalda, and a family friend from the Halkirk area, were all killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling in B.C. on Feb. 19.