For those who aren’t satiated by five straight hours of West Vancouver council meetings, good news. Council is experimenting with moving their start times an hour earlier for the next three regular meetings.
It seems, especially since this term began, council is having a hard time getting through their agendas between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m. In June, they even set a record, wrapping a meeting at 12:45 a.m. It means council is having to drop some items, rush through others, and members of the public are kept waiting all night.
We agree with critics who charge the 5 p.m. start time isn’t good for people who work a 9-5 and want to be present.
Much like kids with homework or reporters on deadline, we suspect the move will result in council finding ways to take up all of the time allotted. Mayor Mary-Ann Booth needs to start wielding the gavel, limiting the speechifying, repetitive questions and off-topic tangents.
We also suggest West Vancouver council bite the bullet and follow the example of nearly every other council in the Lower Mainland by not allowing all-you-can-eat public input during regular meetings. The District of North Vancouver allows a reasonable 30 minutes for constituents to give council what-for. The City of North Vancouver, only 10.
Lest anyone accuse us of wanting to stifle public input, we support moving public hearings to separate nights so everyone with a point to make has council’s undivided attention.
It’s true, democracy is messy. Debates must be fulsome. But when council has business to do, we’d like to see it done while we’re young.
What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.