The recording of a committee of the whole meeting last week was stopped and re-started. (NEWS BULLETIN photo)

The recording of a committee of the whole meeting last week was stopped and re-started. (NEWS BULLETIN photo)

Nanaimo councillor questions policy for filming meetings

Comments come after plugged pulled during ‘loss of decorum’

A Nanaimo city councillor said he’d like to see consistency with recording city meetings.

Coun. Bill Yoachim, at Monday’s city council meeting at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, said he’s heard criticism on the subject.

“I look forward to a solid policy on this … what’s filmed, what’s not, what can happen with the camera up there or not,” he said.

During the previous week’s committee of the whole meeting, the recording was turned off after “a substantial loss of decorum,” according to an e-mailed statement from Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer.

The recording stopped during debate of a presentation regarding the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange.

“There is no policy or procedures in place for recordings of meetings, whether they be committee or council meetings, nor is there a requirement in our procedure bylaw or the community charter,” said Sheila Gurrie, city clerk.

Councillors were asked Monday if the city’s policy has changed in respect to filming finance and audit committee meetings, which haven’t been recorded during recent months.

Coun. Bill Bestwick, chairman of the finance and audit committee, said he didn’t know which finance meetings were recorded and which ones weren’t and said that’s outside his area of responsibility.

“I don’t control the meeting other than chair it. I do a speakers’ list, I call the meeting to order, I try to keep a semblance of organization…” he said. “I don’t make up who gets to watch and who doesn’t.”

Samra said she’s been recommending for about a year that “given the workload and the importance and prominence of the finance and audit committee, that council consider making it like a committee of the whole meeting” and delegate additional decision-making authority to the committee. Those meetings could be moved to the conference centre’s Shaw Auditorium and recorded, Samra said.

“Not that it’s a bylaw requirement or a legal requirement, but it’s a convention of council to record official council meetings, so then it falls under those parameters,” she said.

Council did not make a motion on the subject.

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