The City of Thompson passed a bylaw earlier this month, which will revert to expanding, council to eight councillors and the mayor for a nine-member council come October. Only Coun. Stella Locker voted against the expansion.
The bylaw reads that, according to Section 78 of The Municipal Act, a council is composed of the head of council and "not fewer than four and not more than 10 councillors." The bylaw also states that council can change the number of councillors as it deems "desirable and necessary" to increase the number of councillors to be elected in the next general election - happening this October 27.
At a public meeting, required under the Municipal Act, only two citizens showed up to, both expressing opposite views. Valerie Wilson, whose husband, Brian Wilson, serves as a city councillor, and who also serves herself as a trustee with the School District of Mystery Lake, says eight members of council isn't anything new for the City of Thompson, and that it served the city well in the past. Linda Markus, on the other hand, was against the addition of another person to council.
Coun. Erin Stewart, the newest councillor to join Thompson's city council in a byelection last December, said in favour of another person joining council considering all the work members of council do on a regular basis.
"Just recently coming onto this job, I'm learning about all the demands on people who are basically volunteers. Nobody does this for the money. You invest a lot of your time into the work that needs to be done, and you have to make sacrifices - to your family, your job, which needs to have flexibility, and your recreation and free time," she explains. "Council duties are a balancing act and some people are able to commit more than others. It's the prerogative of each council member to determine what their limits are."