On Monday January 28 , there was a public meeting to obtain input from citizens on what they thought about the proposed changes in Council procedures – this was discussed in three posts on this news blog (see links below). At tonight’s Council meeting, the bylaw to implement the procedures was up for approval and the draft procedure did not reflect any of the changes recommended by citizens. But a comment on this blog by Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that changes can only be by a majority vote of Council. To underline the need to respect the public comments, Simon Chorley made a presentation to Council tonight that listed the key concerns. When the bylaw came up for approval, Councillor Emily Chorley made seven motions to amend the bylaw with three of her seven being approved.
Councillor Emily Chorley’s motions to amend the By-Law
All the motions were debated by Council. Refer to the by-law being debated here: Bylaw up for Final approval at Feb 4 meeting. Note that Chair Mayor John Henderson did not vote on any of these amendments.
- Re Section 3.6 – A two-thirds majority should not be required for anything. Only a simple majority should be required; two-thirds is un-democratic. The motion to change was defeated 4-2 with Aaron supporting Emily.
- Re Section 5.1 – the time of Council meetings should be changed to 6:00 pm from the current 4:00 pm. This would make the meetings accessible to the public. The motion to change was carried 5 -1 (Nicole Beatty against) so all future Council meetings will be at 6:00 pm
- Re Section 5.5. – Since two meetings cannot be at the same time, the public planning meetings should be at 5:00pm. An alternative of having public planning meetings on “Off-Mondays” was suggested but was not voted on. The amendment was carried unanimously so all public planning meetings will be at 5:00 pm. Note that the upcoming Cultural Plan Public Meeting scheduled for 6:00 pm on Feb 6 will not be re-scheduled.
- Re section 16 – When staff are asked to report back or take another action, wherever possible, a deadline for the action must be set. This amendment was approved unanimously.
- Re Section 17.2 – Councillor Chorley moved that all staff reports must include reasons for the action and alternatives with advantages and disadvantage. This would make reports more rigorous and enhance transparency. This was defeated with a 3-3 vote with Adam Bureau and Suzanne Séguin supporting Emily and the Mayor abstaining.
- Re Section 17.3 – The standard format of staff reports should be modified to include sub-sections of para 6 to include cost benefits and risks for “no action”, “alternatives” and the “recommended action”. This motion was also defeated but this time 4-2 with Suzanne supporting Emily.
- Re Section 30 – the requirement for a confirmatory bylaw should be eliminated. Brent Larmer explained that it was required to make legal: resolutions, motions and other council decisions. It could always be reversed If council so decided and was not applicable for decisions backed by their own by-law. The motion to remove the requirement was defeated 5-1.
Once all the amendments were dealt with, Council approved the complete bylaw which will incorporate the above approved amendments.
In other Council Business, Councillor Chorley was consistent in her drive to put deadlines on actions – an exemption to allow 3 dogs in an apartment (instead of 2) was denied by Council and Emily moved a requirement that it be enforced by May 31. Her amendment was unanimously approved.
- Changes to Council procedures – 2 Feb 2019 – about Public Meeting
- Revisions to Draft Council Procedural By-Law – 8 Jan 2019
- Update proposed for Council Procedures – 3 Jan 2019
- The Town’s You-Tube recording seemed to work OK this time! Go here. Go to 1:33:42 for start of the proceedings concerning the Procedural bylaw. This particular item was completed at 2:05:25
Note that in addition to the above changes, a notable difference will be that each Committee of the Whole meeting will include a Q & A Forum as described in my Jan 8 Post here.