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Chestermere, Alta., abandons judicial review that cost taxpayers $300K

The official administrator of the City of Chestermere is cancelling a judicial review that was launched by former mayor Jeff Colvin. (File) The official administrator of the City of Chestermere is cancelling a judicial review that was launched by former mayor Jeff Colvin. (File)
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The City of Chestermere is throwing in the towel on a costly and unauthorized legal battle against the provincial government.

The decision comes after the second dismissal of an injunction in the case related to Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver's order to remove Chestermere's mayor Jeff Colvin and three city councillors – Stephen Hanley, Mel Foat and Blaine Funk – from office.

On Feb. 9, Colvin, Hanley, Foat and Funk sought another injunction, suggesting that it would not be in the public's best interest for them to be kept from office.

In her written decision, Justice Johanna Price of the Alberta Court of King's Bench denied their injunction, saying that they had "failed to identify any harm, speculative or otherwise, that they will suffer if an injunction is not granted."

"I am mindful that the minister found that the applicants were managing the city in 'an irregular, improper, and improvident manner,'" she wrote.

"It is therefore not surprising that the approach of the (official administrator) and CAO would be different and I am not satisfied that this represents harm to the public interest."

This is the second time Colvin and his fellow applicants failed to acquire an injunction to prevent them from being removed from office.

'An end to the legal saga'

In a response to the ruling, the City of Chestermere said Tuesday it is in the public interest to abandon the pursuit of a judicial review into the provincial government's report on its governance.

"The judicial review, which was an unauthorized initiative from the former CAOs, who were also dismissed by the minister by Ministerial Order No. MSD 076/23, has cost taxpayers just under $300,000 in legal fees which expenses were unbudgeted," the town said in a statement.

"This brings an end to the legal saga which has hung as a cloud over the city since the filing of the originating application for a judicial review in September 2023."

The province's report, led by third-party inspector George Cuff, found various issues and concerns with the activities of then-mayor Colvin and his council.

The document included 12 directives for its members to follow or risk losing their jobs.

A couple months after the report was released, McIver's office issued a directive to remove Colvin and the others from office.

The city says it is now awaiting the release of the financial inspection from Deloitte, which is expected to be released in mid-April.

It continues to operate under the direction official administrator Doug Lagore until a by-election is held later this year.

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