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Convention Controversy Continues At AMM March Meetings

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities’ board of directors will review a controversial decision to pull the associations’ annual convention out of Brandon after meetings with mayors and reeves wrap up this week.

The board got an earful last week in the western part of the province during its annual round of spring public consultations with mayors, reeves and CAOs.

Municipal leaders attending the Western District’s meeting – the largest of the AMM’s districts – say the board’s decision to hold all future meetings in Winnipeg unless the hotel situation improves, goes squarely against what they voted for in 2006 – to keep the conventions rotating yearly between the two cities.

“Democracy flew out the window on this one,” Carberry Mayor Wayne Blair was quoted as saying in the Brandon Sun.

Mayor of Brandon Dave Burgess has been outspoken in opposition to the board’s decision.

Much of the criticism about the move comes from the western side of the province, but opinions are not divided strictly by east or west.

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder said their council is also disappointed the board made this decision and sent a letter to the board saying so. The delegates’ decision should have been respected until they could vote on the matter again, Harder said.

“We also believe that AMM maybe hasn’t done a good enough job on figuring out how it can make this work,” he said. “There are other ways you can manage an event without necessarily having to pull it out of the community.”

Other leaders commenting on the controversy at the Central District meeting in Treherne said the decision makes sense and they supported it.

AMM president Doug Dobrowolski said the issue is strictly a lack of accommodation in Brandon for around 1,000 or more persons, including delegates as well as convention speakers and trade show exhibitors who attend the convention.

“What are we supposed to do when municipalities call and tell us they can’t come because they can’t get a room?” he said. “That’s the only issue here as far as we’re concerned as the board.”

The AMM had two more mayors and reeves consultations to attend in Churchill and Dugald March 22 and 23. Dobrowolski said the board would take another look at this issue after that.

“We want to do the entire circuit of the mayors and reeves so we get the views of the entire province before the board looks at it again.”

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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