10/20/2015 12:23 EDT | Updated 10/20/2015 12:59 EDT

Edmonton City Council Battles It Out Over Snack Trays

City of Edmonton/Flickr
Edmonton City Council completed hearing budget proposals from all departments, civic agencies, including the Police Commission this afternoon.

EDMONTON —Canadians may have been intently focused on the federal election Monday, but at Edmonton city council it was all about an issue with a little more meat in it.

Members of the Edmonton Youth Council decided earlier this year to try and convince councillors to make a change — at least when it came to the three food trays sometimes served at meetings.

The incumbent trays were a varied lot — one veggies, one fruit and one processed meat and cheese.

The youth council campaigned for three vegan trays instead, but when a council committee rejected the pitch, they countered with a "more flexible'' alternative.

"We talked about either plant-based food or food sourced from local businesses,'' explained youth council chairwoman Marina Banister. "So in our minds that was a great compromise.''

But that idea also laid an egg and in the end, councillors decided not to even hold a vote.

"I'm really disappointed that administration wouldn't have flagged this,'' said Coun. Dave Loken, suggesting the debate was a waste of time. "This could have been done better.''

"It's bad enough that we have to drink the horrible coffee,'' grumbled Coun. Ed Gibbons. "I could be voting right now, instead of wasting my time on this.''

Jolene Noble from the Cattleman's Association was on hand for the meeting and was pleased with the outcome, saying vegan snack trays could have had a ripple effect on the beef industry.

"This is our Edmonton City Council,'' said Noble. "What they do, often other companies or other cities, even, follow suit so I think that message would have been loud and clear and would have had far-reaching effects.''

Banister called the youth council's taste of defeat "unfortunate.''

"We're talking as representatives of Edmonton youth and this is something that's important to us. But at the same time we understand that councillors are extremely busy with a number of pressing issues.''

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