Council Kim Robinson might not have submitted a valid Request for Inquiry during the regular meeting of Moose Jaw City Council on May 27, but he effectively communicated his frustration with what he characterized as a lack of progress on complaints made to administration. 

“Recently, I’ve had a lot of calls regarding resident and community safety, in fact, several this morning in regard to our downtown core,” Robinson said. “And certainly, a lot of calls for poor communication. I heard a story where a couple of trolley tours had to be cancelled on the weekend because there was some miscommunication. 

“And, I’ve heard several stories about largely ignored bylaws. And recently, I guess we’ve all heard about the citizen concerns over our City Hall opening hours. ... Just before I showed up at today’s meeting, I heard from a resident who has reported approximately 30 graffiti incidents.” 

When, Robinson wanted to know, will City Council and City Administration start taking the voice of Moose Jaw residents seriously? 

“And how (are) public officials and our administration held accountable when they drop the ball on these sort of things?” 

Robinson voiced his inquiry during the period of City Council when formal reports can be requested of specific city departments — such as asking about the profitability of Moose Jaw’s parking meters, or if the Operations Department will be able to repave the problematic section of 13th Avenue this year. 

“Councilor,” responded Mayor Clive Tolley, “can you rephrase your question? You gave an opening statement, but I’m not sure exactly what the question of administration is.” 

“My question is, when are we going to take the public voice seriously? ... And how are we as officials and administration and staff held accountable?” 

Tolley remained visibly confused after Robinson’s clarification. 

“I don’t think that’s a question for administration,” Tolley said after a moment. “We’re the elected officials, people in our community are coming to us and asking us to provide leadership in these areas, to bring forward bylaws and instruct our administration (on how) to govern this city. 

“I’m not sure that the administration should be tasked with answering (what) I would think is an ongoing thing.” 

Tolley asked Maryse Carmichael, Moose Jaw’s City Manager, if she wanted to comment on what Robinson had said. 

“I would welcome specifics on incidents that Council may have (heard of),” Carmichael replied, “and I will investigate all issues that may have come to Council. 

“I have to say that we have over 35,000 residents in the city, and we take every communication seriously, that we receive.” 

Carmichael gave several recent examples of the city responding to resident complaints, including communications on road work (especially this summer’s Main Street maintenance), investigating bylaw complaints, and new programs on trespassing and business safety from the Moose Jaw Police Service. 

“We have several programs that have been released over the last few months, but for sure I’ll welcome any specifics on any complaints you may have, and I will investigate,” Carmichael added. 

The next regular meeting of Moose Jaw City Council is scheduled for June 10.