Councillor Sean McIntyre was taken to task by Mayor Susan Samson for failing to provide residents with full information on the town’s proposed business license bylaw which unleashed a flurry of sometimes angry and derogatory email and social media messages to councillors over the weekend.
When the item came up for debate at Monday night’s council meeting, Tim Schmidt, director of planning and development, outlined how the draft had been prepared beginning with council approving a terms of reference for the rewrite last March and indicating specific businesses were included following a resolution passed by council last November as a result of a staff-generated discussion paper reviewed at that time.
Then Samson addressed the audience of about 35 people who packed council chambers.
“It appears that Councillor Sean McIntyre advised you we were going to pass a bylaw that allows the operation of escorts and escort agencies.”
She then assured residents “no one around this table is interested in allowing escorts or escort agencies to operate.
“At any time an escort or escort agency can come in and we have no tools to disallow this.
“What we’re trying to do is open discussion to the public to determine what tools can be put in place to protect ourselves, our community.
“We can do nothing or we can regulate it. Our job is to protect you.”
Later McIntyre challenged Samson. “You asserted I mislead people. I’d like to offer the public the address I made.”
He then read the statement he placed on his Facebook page on Friday. “Monday’s Sylvan Lake council meeting will address the new proposed business license bylaw that prohibits rickshaws and allows escorts and escort agencies. Public is welcome to attend. Meeting starts at 5:30. Now would be a great time to let your mayor and council know how you feel. Email: email@example.com.”
McIntyre continued, “I’d like clarity on how I misled people.”
Samson replied referring to “75 plus emails that ended up in my inbox” and noted some called her “an idiot”.
“How can 75 people be on the same track, that we’re putting through escort services … In your job as an elected official you need to give people full information.
“You threw this council under the bus.”
McIntyre’s response was the comments were “not any different from derogatory comments received on other issues”.
He then proceeded to request information on the draft bylaw with specific reference to the sections pertaining to escorts and escort agencies (see separate story).