Dozens of Norfolk Treherne residents calling for resignations of reeve, councillors
Lined up inside and out -- dozens of people packed a meeting in the RM of Norfolk-Treherne, most demanding the reeve and two remaining councillors step down.
“This is not a normal turnout, no,” said resident Connor Timmerman.
The drama began in June, when the council fired the long-time CAO in a 4-3 vote.
“It’s a mystery, it’s a mystery, yes,” said Shirley Isford.
Not long after the vote, four of the councillors resigned, leaving Reeve Will Eert and two councillors.
“We estimate about 150 people here trying to show this council that remains that ratepayers are not happy with what’s going on,” said former reeve, Craig Spencer.
Angered by the turn of events, several people at the meeting blamed the remaining members of council. They called on them to resign, to trigger a brand-new election.
Tom Isford was one of two delegates who spoke at the meeting.
“This municipality is not pleased, we are not going to put up with this, so do the right thing and resign, thank you,” said Isford.
That did not happen; council stood its ground.
“We’re staying, because we have, for one thing, we have a responsibility to the people that voted for us,” said Eert.
There were some on hand to support the reeve.
Albert Lesage shook hands with every council member including Eert before the meeting concluded.
“He’s an honest guy, he follows the straight and narrow,” said Lesage.
Eert says he can’t disclose why the CAO was fired for privacy reasons. He says one of the four councillors’ resignations was for personal issues and he hasn’t talked to the others as to why they walked away.
“I wish that we would just calm down, give our council a chance, we’ve only been here eight months,” said Eert.
Following the official meeting, things got heated during a free for all as community members argued amongst themselves.
They debated over what seems to be one of the main issues in the area -- a project to hook businesses and residents up to natural gas.
Some were even nose-to-nose at times.
Many here feel the current council doesn’t support the plan and worry it could drive businesses elsewhere.
“This area might lose out if our neighbours on either side of us and to the south of us get natural gas,” said Craig Spencer.
Eert says the price tag for ratepayers is a concern. He wants a referendum before making a decision.
“There is a cost issue,” said Eert.
To fill the empty seats on council, the reeve says by-elections are set for September 4.