Oak Bay will have another crack at debating council meeting start times.
Coun. Andrew Appleton filed a notice of motion Nov. 28, of intent to revisit council and in-camera meeting start times changed earlier this year.
Prior to his year, Oak Bay held both its regular council and committee of the whole meetings at 7 p.m. with in-camera meetings scheduled on an as-needed basis. In February, council amended its procedure bylaw to start meetings at 6 p.m. with regularly scheduled in-camera sessions set for 5:15 p.m.
Appleton’s notice of motion notes the changes were to address increasing length of meetings, to have meetings finish earlier and to provide better accessibility for the public. The meetings were rescheduled with the intent that the revised timing could be revisited in the future if those goals were not met.
The notice of motion reiterates concerns Appleton voiced during the bylaw change discussions. Meetings held over the dinner hour and immediately at the end of the typical workday may present a barrier to public participation as well as a disincentive for persons to engage in council process as a citizen or prospective elected representative.
Council was divided on the idea, and during the January decision, Couns. Cairine Green and Esther Paterson also opposed the move.
Appleton said the installation of a new council presents an appropriate juncture to revisit the timing of meetings.
He hopes to see support asking staff to prepare potential options for amendments to the procedure bylaw to reschedule the current recurring 5:15 p.m. in-camera meeting to a separate stand-alone time either not in association with a scheduled regular meeting or after a regular meeting; and regularly scheduled council and committee of the whole meetings return to a 7 p.m. start.
The matter will come before the Dec. 12 council meeting. Find the agenda online at oakbay.civicweb.net.
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