Editorial - Council/Administration being at odds won't work

For anyone who has sat and watched regular meetings of Yorkton Council for the last five years there has often been a palatable sense of unrest that percolates to the surface every few meetings. 

The tension comes from what has been a growing rift between at least some members of Council – both this edition of Council and the former as well – and City Administration. 

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While friction is bound to occur on occasion based on personality clashes, the likelihood is not everyone will be happily on the same side of issues and debates. 

But, the situation of late at Council is more than occasional. 

It is rather clear, to anyone watching the proceedings regularly, some members of Council and of Administration have gotten to the point where being on the same page is a rarity. 

Ideally, you want the two groups rowing in unison to keep the boat that is our city heading down river as smoothly as possible. 

But, that doesn’t seem to be exactly how things are going, and a prime example is the ongoing saga of a new City Operations Centre currently under construction on York Road. 

The facility, and the related Parks Building on Myrtle Avenue, was again the hot topic at the regular meeting of Council Monday and Councillor Darcy Zaharia had questions that seemed to have answers by City Administration from March 2020 to Council at odds with more recent ones. 

In 2020, Trent Mandzuk, Director of Public Works told Council the Parks Building was contaminated and was simply unsaleable.

And, now the City has had an offer they accepted from Sno-Riders for the building – although Council would be seeking to put that deal on hold before Monday’s meeting was over. 

Coun. Chris Wyatt said the comments in 2019 appear to have been part of a “push to build a building of this scope,” when the Council of the day was “wanting to spend a lot less money.” 

The mixed messaging is concerning continued Wyatt, Councillors “are not experts in every aspect of the city,” so they must trust that they are being given the best and most accurate information by staff.  

Without a trust in that “this job becomes almost impossible,” he said, adding it leaves Council second guessing things. 

Now the situation might be as simple as Mandzuk needing to have stated ‘unlikely to be saleable” since little in our world is black and white, but the rather protracted debate Monday while airing the issue publicly so it might finally be smoothed over, likely only widened the chasm in the short term. 

Trust between Council and its Administration is essential, and if that can’t be re-established fully, then change has to come. The two sides better smooth things soon though, residents should demand it.

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