Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Audit reveals accountability lacking in RM of Lac du Bonnet

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A closer look at the administrative practices in the RM of Lac du Bonnet revealed a lack of accountability with officials and a need for improved oversight between departments.

Those were some of the findings from provincial auditor general Carol Bellringer in her report on the small Manitoba community, approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, that was released to members of the legislature Thursday. The audit, which stemmed from allegations of wrongdoings in 2008, examined the overall practices of the municipality and the Lac du Bonnet Planning District, which oversees area zoning and development.

While overall government workings in the Lac du Bonnet region need to be improved, the report identified seven key points of concern. Topping the recommendation list to the province were three key points, including a conflict-of-interest situation -- where the same person served as both the reeve of the municipality and the building inspector from November 2010 to May 2012 -- not addressed in legislation.

Other important areas Bellringer highlighted were an improperly built drainage ditch that had to be rebuilt by the Emergency Measures Organization and how that process was contracted, as well as violations of the Municipal Act when local officials wrote off property taxes concerning a tourist camp.

The auditor general also took issue with how the Municipal Act was ignored when officials charged residents who did not benefit from a new water project, the inadequate manner in which the zoning bylaws were adhered to, how officials ignored the tendering-regulation policies and the expense reports of the individual councillors. The audit, which began August 2011 and wrapped up last December, covered the period between Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2012. The RM of Lac du Bonnet is governed by a five-member council, separate from the town inside the municipality of the same name.

The 2011 census shows the population of the municipality was 2,671, a number that balloons to approximately 8,000 during the summer months due to tourism and recreation.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2013 A10

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