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  • Caylie Gnyra

Town Council


The Regular Meeting of Town Council on May 7 began with a lively debate on the Sanitary Trunk Main Replacement that has been approved in the 2024 budget. Council will be moving forward with the first payment of the $1.4 million project by drawing from the town’s approximately $4 million in reserve funds rather than borrowing the money as originally planned.

During public commentary, a local citizen requested repairs to the sidewalk along the ravine that follows 55th Street, noting it is a safety concern and saying that “it’s not a huge commitment, but it would benefit a lot of people walking that route.” “We’ll see what we can do,” said Council encouragingly.

Council then introduced the new Director of Infrastructure and Planning Services, Robert Dauphinee, who started in the office on Monday, May 6. “I was very excited when I got here and am looking forward to a long stay,” he said. Council welcomed him warmly.

Council also appointed Director of Community Services Mike van der Torre to serve as interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). This follows former CAO Kevin Lucas’ resignation in April. Council is grateful to Lucas for his years of service and will begin searching for a new CAO immediately.

In their discussion about the Vermilion River Regional Alliance (VRRA), Councillors questioned maintaining the Town of Vermilion’s membership, weighing the $2,000 membership fee against the benefits reaped by having a seat at the table. The Town of Vermilion pays the same amount as the City of Lloydminster and the County of Vermilion River, while the Villages of Marwayne, Paradise Valley, Kitscoty, and Mannville as well as Lakeland College pay just a fraction of that fee. Councillor Robert Snow, who sits of the VRRA, said, “I think we need a bigger piece of the pie, but I do think there’s value to [having a seat at the VRRA].” In particular, Councillor Snow would like to see another individual or two from the Town of Vermilion permitted to serve on the committee, especially to have a voice in the conversations about doctor retention and economic development. No decision was made about continuing with the current membership.

Upon interim CAO Mike van der Torre’s recommendation, Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin proclaimed May 12–18, 2024 as National Police Week in the Town of Vermilion. Councillor Snow gave a shout out to all the police listening, saying, “Our police do an amazing job. Hats off to them for the services they provide.”

In an attempt to quell rumours and speculation, Greg Throndson, who has served as mayor of Vermilion for the past two and a half years, addressed Council and the public regarding the press release sent out by the Town the previous morning about his disqualification and sanctioning. “I want to make the record straight,” he began. He explained that the disqualification arose following an incident on March 17, 2023 in which he kicked and broke an exterior door at Town Office after receiving a Code of Conduct for a different offense from another member of Council. The disqualification stems specifically from his refusal to pay the bill of $7,129.00 plus penalties for the replacement of the door, a bill that has been outstanding for more than 90 days. His refusal, he explained, arises from the fact that the initial bill was around $3,600, but has since billowed to over $7,000 and covers the cost of replacing not one but two interlocking doors. Additionally, he had been ordered to take an anger management course, about which he sheepishly joked, “I’m supposed to take an anger management course and I haven’t taken it yet and it makes me mad!” Throughout his address, Throndson repeatedly admitted he broke the door, but clarified that he hoped to see the dollar amount renegotiated in-house.

Throndson also addressed the sanctioning, saying he had been brought forward on three allegations of behaviour unbecoming of a mayor, and how he has owned his behaviour on all three but questions the 18-month length of the sanctions that restrict his involvement in office. He said, “I recognize that I’ve put Council in a very awkward position.” No further commentary was made by Council. Throndson’s mayoral duties have been taken over by Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin for the remainder of Throndson’s 18-month term.

Following Manager Economic Development Marylee Prior’s recommendation, Deputy Mayor Kevin Martin proclaimed May 6–10, 2024 Economic Development Week. Council thanked Prior and recognized the importance of her work in building a strong and vibrant community.

Councillor Kirby Whitlock then provided an update to Council on the Healthcare Providers Attraction and Retention Committee, saying that two doctors will be on their way to the community over the next few months and that a third doctor has since chosen not to come to Vermilion for personal reasons. One is an anesthesiologist who should be here in July and the other should be coming closer to September. Council extended immense gratitude to Greg Smith, who has spent over 25 hours each week over the course of many weeks in efforts to entice doctors to come here.

Council asked whether funds were used to incentivize doctors to come to Vermilion and were told that $15,000 per doctor was offered with the hopes that that money would be used on local rent. Council also noted that a lot of these doctors were lacking the ability to start up a clinic, and that a zero-interest loan for a few years might be more appealing.

 Director of Finance and Administration Brian Leibel reported that accounts payable April 17 to May 7, 2024 totalled $536,068.22.

During Council Round Table, councillors spoke of the drought, Emergency Preparedness Week, and the Town’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, as well as the upcoming grade 6 visit to Town Hall.

Town Council meetings occur the first and third Tuesday of each month starting at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Town Office, and can also be heard through livestream on Zoom by registering at https://www.vermilion.ca/en/your-government/council-livestream.aspx

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