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Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard and other members of town council are frustrated that the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs has not yet approved Hay River’s community plan.
NNSL file photo

Hay River town council has once again raised concern that the GNWT has still not approved its community plan.

The town sent the document to the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) in August 2019.

During the July 28 online meeting of council, Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard called the situation frustrating.

“It’s just like when will this stop?” he said. “Our community plan is basically almost a work in progress. We have probably a half a dozen other things that we want to change to it. We can’t change nothing. We can’t move forward anywhere because the ministers haven’t signed off on the community plan.”

Bouchard noted the territorial government had asked for the community plan, and the town prepared the document and did consultations.

“Then they seem to sit on their hands, and then Covid came along and we switched ministers back and forth,” he said, referring to the fact that MACA Minister Paulie Chinna was replaced in that role by Premier Caroline Cochrane in April, only to see the portfolio return to Chinna in a cabinet shuffle on July 23.

“It’s ridiculous,” Bouchard said of the delay.

The deputy mayor’s frustrations in seeing the community plan not yet approved are shared by others on council.

“By the time this gets approval, it will be outdated,” said Coun. Keith Dohey.

Glenn Smith, the town’s senior administrative officer, told council that he has been informed by MACA that the approval is tied up in a consultation process.

Mayor Kandis Jameson said she can use that information when speaking to the MACA minister about the situation.

“What’s realistic for consultation and how long can it be held up, I guess is my question to the minister,” Jameson said. “But we finally did get a response out of the department, so we will be moving forward with that.”

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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