By Kevin J. Sabo For the Advance
Castor council was once again debating the merits of signing into the newly forming Coronation & District Seniors Housing Society, during their Nov. 26 meeting.
The society, which is rising from the ashes of the old Coronation Seniors Housing Society, is a three-way memorandum of agreement between the towns of Castor and Coronation, and the County of Paintearth. The society is being set up to help fund the future for seniors in the region who wish to age in place.
The council had received this document at the last council meeting, and having concerns, requested CAO Sandi Jackson and Mayor Richard Elhard contact the leadership of this fledgling society for clarification of the concerns.
Council has several concerns with the Memorandum of Agreement as it is currently worded.
The first issue at hand is the old society is reportedly sitting on nearly $200,000 of requisition funding, that the new society intends to roll into their new organization. Council is concerned that due to the composition of the new society, there is no guarantee that any of that money would make it’s way back to Castor.
The second concern council had with the document is the organization of the society. The new society would be composed of two councillors from each jurisdiction signed on to the agreement, and three members at large. The document does not specify if a regional requirement would be held or how the members at large would be picked, and council’s concern is that if the three members at large come from the Coronation area, Castor could be effectively frozen out of any funding requests.
A third concern is the objectives of the new society. Objective number one of the Memorandum of Agreement reads “To secure/maintain housing for seniors in the Coronation area, in order that Coronation residents may age in place.”
The Town of Castor is not mentioned at all in the objectives of the new society, and Paintearth as a whole is not mentioned until the sixth point.
“Number one has to be changed before you have my vote to sign it,” said Coun. Lonny Nelner. “It has to be rewritten to even entertain it.”
A final concern that council had with the document is the legal status of the old society and the money it held. Council has asked to see documentation, such as mission statement, society number, and proof of status before signing the agreement, something which the society has declined to offer.
CAO Jackson and Mayor Elhard will be pursuing this matter further in the coming weeks and will be brought before council again, likely in the new year.