Marty Giles, Kim Jenkins, Kevin Fleury, Maggie Farrington, Jeanette Bancarz, and Mark Hodson.
Those are the six public appointees to the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee. Council unanimously approved the appointments at their meeting Tuesday night.
The new committee members represent several different stakeholders in the community.
Giles is known as the owner of NorthStar Ford, Jenkins is the CEO of Keyano College’s Land Trust Corporation, Fleury is the CEO of Canadian Engineering Development Association, Farrington runs the Athabasca Tribal Council, Bancarz works as the community branch manager at ATB Financial, and Hodson is the manager of plant production for Shell.
The members will assist Councillors Sheldon Germain, Keith McGrath, and Allan Vinni in developing plans and recommendations for council related to the rebuild and recovery of the region.
Council also heard a presentation from Councillor Germain on the background and goals of the recovery committee. The Ward 1 representative stressed that all decisions would be made in a public forum, during weekly meetings that will begin on August 3.
“The public process during this difficult time has been lacking,” he said. “We all must commit to doing a better job.”
The councillor detailed an analysis of the RMWB’s current state of operations, noting that administration is being stretched due to staffing constraints while council has been divisive in an emotionally charged atmosphere.
“We need to end the days where mayor, council, and administration aren’t united,” Germain said. “The community needs us to put our pasts aside and come together. I accept my role in how we got here today, but we can all be part of the solution.”
A new cohesiveness was noticeable at this week’s meeting, with no agenda item generating excessive debate and all items being approved unanimously by council.
One of those items was a request for a $4 million start-up budget for the recovery committee. The funds will pay for overhead costs, administration salaries, committee expenses, and a contingency fund for the first three months of their operation. The RMWB has been directed to seek reimbursement of the funds from the provincial disaster relief program.
Note: All votes were passed 10-0 on Tuesday as Councillor Jane Stroud was away on a Municipal Governance Act consultation.