The History

Who Are We?

The Westlock Neutrality Team is a group of committed citizens from all walks of life that care about our community and realize the importance of maintaining equality in public places. The group was initiated by local resident Stephanie Bakker in response to the Council of the Town of Westlock dismissing concerns from its electorate.

How It Started

For years, the Town of Westlock ran by the unwritten rule of neutrality and equality in public places. In June 2023, Town Council unanimously approved the painting of a rainbow crosswalk on a public street. The act of promoting one group of people over others violated that unwritten rule and opened a floodgate. Soon after this decision by Council, and further stirred by their dismissal of citizens concerns, the Westlock Neutrality Team came into being in an attempt to close the floodgates and restore neutrality and equality to public places.

The Plan

In late July 2023, void of any support from Town Council, the Westlock Neutrality Team began a petition requiring that Council “make a bylaw ensuring crosswalks and flags on public property remain neutral”. They would have 60 days to acquire signatures from at least 10% of Westlock’s population (492 signatures). They began a campaign of going door-to-door across the entire town.

Petition: SUCCESSFUL!

By mid-September 2023, the Westlock Neutrality Team had successfully garnered over 700 signatures and presented it to the Town of Westlock administrative office for verification. The Town Office had up to 45 days to authenticate whether there were enough valid signatures. On the 45th day, they confirmed tha THE PETITION was valid! they set the town-wide vote to the latest permittable date of February 22, 2024.

Plebiscite: SUCCEFUL!

After a surprise January by-election where the previous mayor curiously resigned and was replaced by an existing council member, the Town Council set to work on an aggressive “Vote No” campaign, trying to sway its citizens against supporting the bylaw. Despite their significant advantage in resources and influence, on February 22 the town voted YES (663 YES – 639 No)!

Bylaw: PASSED!

On March 11, 2024, at a Town Council regular meeting, despite their disagreement to it councilors had no choice but to pass 2nd and 3rd reading of the Neutrality Bylaw (what they titled the “Crosswalk and Flagpole Bylaw 2023-14”). The floodgates that they opened back in June 2023 are now closed. Neutrality and equality to our public places has been restored!