People living in the small town of Granum, Alta. have voted in favor of dissolving their community into the surrounding M.D. of Willow Creek.
Nearly three quarters of residents who voted cast ballots in favour of the move this week.
The vote is a major step towards dissolution but a final decision must be approved by the province.
“For people who have lived here lifetimes and multiple generations, they are very sad,” Bernie Kennedy, a town councillor in Granum, said.
Kennedy is the community’s last remaining councillor after Granum’s mayor, deputy mayor and other councillors tendered their resignations over the past year, after what Kennedy said were internal disputes between council members.
READ MORE: Future uncertain for Town of Granum, Alta.
He believes those administrative issues were a big factor in the community’s decision to support dissolution into the M.D.
“We’ve had repeated problems with administration and council attacking people in the community, attacking groups in the community, and they just got to the point where they said ‘enough,'” Kennedy said.
The vote comes on the heels of a viability report conducted by the province, outlining Granum’s options to remain a town or join the M.D. of Willow Creek.
“The good people of Granum have spoken and have said they would like to be governed as a part of the Municipal District of Willow Creek,” Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s minister of municipal affairs, said in a statement Friday.
“The role of the Alberta government in this decision is to provide due process and appropriate information, out of respect for the democratic rights of citizens,” Madu said.
“I commit to taking the results of the vote to my colleagues in cabinet and will recommend Granum become a hamlet within the Municipal District of Willow Creek.”
The M.D. of Willow Creek said Friday officials would work to make such a transition as efficient as possible.
“The reality is the strength of Granum was never solely found within the boundaries of the town, it was always well integrated into the community,” Kennedy said.
The provincial viability report states a move to the M.D. could result in non-residential property and municipal tax decreases, though Kennedy said residents shouldn’t expect any sort of financial windfall.
“There will be some savings, probably I’m thinking around $120,000 worth of savings, because we won’t have an administrator and we won’t have an office staff,” Kennedy said.
“We’ll still have a town staff, we still have to run the sewer, we still have to run the water, we still have to pick up garbage and we still have to do all the services that people want.”
Granum residents can attend a community meeting scheduled for Nov. 26 at the town’s drop-in centre to discuss the next steps.