MEDICINE HAT, AB -- “The top three issues that I’m dealing with, I didn’t create," says Mayor Ted Clugston.
Mayor Clugston is firing at the provincial government for forcing costs and responsibilities on the city while deflecting ownership for controversial initatives.
Citing the on-leash change at Kin Coulee park, marijuana legalization and the possible safe consumption site, the mayor says the local MLA needs to be doing more to support the city.
“When you have a historical site and you’re telling the municipality they should do something about it," says Clugston. "All I’m asking is for some funding to help us do something about it.”
The mayor says the city was essentially ignored when it came to resolving issues at Kin Coulee Park and that he's frustrated that the city is bearing a lot of the costs stemming from the legalization of marijuana
“We’ve beared all the costs for planning, for retail, consumption, as well of course the policing costs are gonna go up, road side testing," says Clugston. "All these costs are born by the municipality.”
MLA Bob Wanner has typically stayed away from weighing in on controversial issues due to his role as legislative speaker.
However, Wanner did respond to Clugstons comments noting Medicine Hat will soon be home to one of the largest medical marijuana facilities in the world.
"There are options for the city government," says Bob Wanner. “They've welcomed a job creating investment of new capital into the province."
Plans to open a safe consumption site in Medicine Hat has created a lot of controversy.
The mayor has been fielding many calls and emails from people upset about the idea even though the province in partnership with Alberta Health Services and the federal government is behind the initative.
“If you picked up facebook today you will see all of the blame coming towards city council for all these three issues," says Clugston. "I just want the other levels of government to take a little heat as well.”
Clugston says it's frustrating that council is taking all the blame and feels the other levels of government should be taking some of the heat.
Wanner says he’s always open to a discussion, although he spends most of his time in Edmonton.
“I’ve never, to my recollection, refused a meeting or request from him or any elected official," says Bob Wanner. “If they need information about the due process, I’ll facilitate as much as I can.”
Municipal and provincial governments have a tendency to criticize each other, but Clugston says that’s just part of politics.
“We talk and we give each other a hard time," says Clugston. "It’s just part of the process.”
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