Council concerned traffic ticket changes mean ‘everyone’s guilty’

Written by Stu Salkeld

Alix village council will voice their concerns about proposed changes to how the provincial government processes traffic tickets, noting it appears Albertans will have to prove themselves innocent. The decision was made at the Feb. 16 regular meeting of council.

In an interview with the ECA Review Feb. 17 village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White stated during the correspondence part of their agenda councillors read a letter from the Town of Gibbons which voiced that council’s concerns with Bill 21, the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act.

Gibbons Mayor Dan Deck noted in the letter the provincial government’s proposed changes to how traffic tickets are handled, that Albertans who get a traffic ticket have to file an online appeal rather than standard due process, is wrong. 

“This erosion of due process represents one more step in the degradation of a citizen’s rights and freedoms to a position where one should just ‘pay up’ and then ‘shut up,’” stated the letter. 

Deck stated Gibbons council was also concerned with how much public consultation was being conducted on the issue.

Alix councillors agreed, noting during discussion the proposed traffic ticket changes concerned them because there appeared to be a lack of fair process and that Albertans were assumed to be guilty unless they prove themselves innocent.

Coun. Ed Cole declared a pecuniary interest and excused himself from this discussion. 

Councillors agreed to send a letter with their concerns to the provincial government.

Doubtful account

White presented councillors with a report on an Alix business which has not paid its business license fee since 2016. The CAO noted the $300 debt stays on the village’s books until paid or written off.

The council recently approved a new business license bylaw which allows penalties for unpaid business licenses, but White pointed out that previously the village had no recourse in situations like this.

During discussion councillors felt it best to write the debt off and move forward. 

The CAO noted that if a similar situation happens again, the bylaw now allows for fines.

School boards

Councillors heard an update from Parkland Community Planning Services representative Craig Teal, who reported on efforts to develop mandatory agreements with school districts that the provincial government is calling “joint use planning agreements.” 

White stated these agreements, between municipalities and all the school divisions in their areas, are required under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and largely concern facility use.

Several communities, including Alix, received a grant to develop the agreements and the Village of Clive is taking the lead on this project.

The agreements are somewhat similar to those required several years ago by the provincial government between all municipalities which share borders. After requiring the agreements be in place, the provincial government later changed its mind and left them as optional.

Media policy

Councillors approved an emergency management media policy which White stated is intended to handle information to the public during an emergency situation. She noted the mayor and deputy mayor recently met with emergency management personnel to discuss the policy.

The CAO stated the policy aims to prevent multiple messages going out to the pubic in an emergency.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.