Fredericton councillor questions all-male committee

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Fredericton Councillor questions lack of diversity on committee
WATCH: The appointment of an all-male committee on the future of the New Brunswick Exhibition grounds has been stalled after a city councillor raised issues of representation on it. Megan Yamoah has the details – Jul 9, 2019

The future of the New Brunswick exhibition grounds in Fredericton remains unclear after a delay in the planning process.

The appointment of a new committee has been stalled over what one councillor says is a lack of representation.

“It’s been an ongoing issue having diversity on those committees,” said Kate Rogers the Fredericton councillor for Ward 11.

Kate Rogers is the only female councillor. When she saw the city’s five nominees for the land development committee, she convinced the rest of council not to approve the list. None of the women eligible for the committee had made the cut.

READ MORE: Fredericton Exhibition will remain at Smythe Street location

“The fact that they weren’t chosen to me was such a significant oversight I couldn’t let it go unnoticed,” said Rogers.

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The New Brunswick exhibition has already appointed its five members, two of whom are women.

The executive director says the city needs to get the ball rolling.

“The committee might not meet until fall, and we were anxious to get things going I felt we had some momentum,” said Mike Vokey the New Brunswick Exhibition Executive Director.

READ MORE: City of Fredericton waiting for provincial approval for Officers’ Square construction

The committee was created after years of legal battles between the city and the exhibition over land development, Rogers was among the women who weren’t selected for the committee.

“The fact that I was overlooked made me realize huh, I now have a personal experience here so that I can speak to the broader issue,” said Rogers

“It shouldn’t be about getting any particular person on the committee,” said Vokey

Vokey says all nominees were chosen based on their education, experience and expertise.

“You look at them without looking at their age or their gender, they are just a strong committee and I was really optimistic that the committee was going to be able to make some things happen,” said Vokey.

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WATCH: Fredericton Exhibition takes legal against city over leasing issues

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Fredericton Exhibition takes legal against city over leasing issues

Rogers agrees the candidates are qualified,but says there’s a larger issue that needs to be addressed.

“They are going to reanalyze some of the applicants and take a closer look,” said Rogers

For now, the issue is back in the hands of city staff. It’s not clear when the committee will be chosen.

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