Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths has advised the AWNA that his department is undertaking a review of the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
“The review will include a stakeholder engagement process that will give all interested parties the opportunity to provide input, including municipal officials, municipal associations, private businesses and industry, and members of the public. The stakeholder engagement process is tentatively scheduled to begin during the summer of 2013,” Griffiths says.
Griffiths has informed us that the ministry is keeping track of all requested amendments to the MGA and has invited the association to submit to him any requests it has for amendments to the MGA prior to the stakeholder engagement process.
The AWNA understands that some municipalities and municipal associations have expressed a desire to change the MGA’s advertising requirements. Among the changes proposed are provisions that would allow municipalities the option to post their legal notices on municipal websites and social media sites.
Tim Shearlaw, publisher of the Three Hills Capital and Mayor of Three Hills, has said that he thinks that the requirement for municipalities to advertise legal notices in newspapers will stay in the Act, but it will also be amended to include mention of municipal websites.
AWNA Government Relations Committee Chair Dave Bruha has indicated that his committee will be submitting a brief to the Minister on the strengths of community newspapers and why they should continue to be an important communications vehicle for municipalities, particularly when conveying information that is legally required to be published.
Shearlaw urged the association to stay on top of this issue, saying that the Town of Three Hills has measured the traffic to its website and discovered that the number was so low it was embarrassing.