The St. Albert Gazette won a victory for transparency in local government this week.
Their city council voted Monday against a bylaw that would have enabled the city to select the method it uses to publish legal advertisements.
Many of the province’s municipalities have enacted such bylaws since the Municipal Government Act was amended in 2017, allowing councils to create their own ad bylaws. Councils have argued that posting these notices on their websites saves money and gets the notices out on a timelier basis.
Great West Media CEO Duff Jamison addressed council during the public hearing, presenting survey data the City of St. Albert commissioned that showed residents preferred receiving notices and information from the city in their local newspaper. Rosalynn Thompson, a St. Albert resident, said she is one of the 67 per cent of St. Albertans that prefers to get their information in the paper.
“I didn’t come here today to talk on behalf of my business,” Jamison said. “I came here today to talk on behalf of the residents of St. Albert who rely on The Gazette to keep them informed of the goings on in their city.”
St. Albert joins other local governments such as Olds and the County of Mountanview, who have chosen to keep advertising in their local newspapers.