April 10, 2015 - 10:36 AM
PENTICTON - Tuesday’s council meeting may have been a record-setter for length, thanks to three public hearings that pushed the meeting into a second day.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said he suspects the six-and-a-half hour meeting that ended at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday broke some kind of record; it was certainly the longest meeting in his time on council.
“I remember going to 11 p.m., but that was after a 7 p.m. start, not 6 p.m,” he said.
The mayor said council thought it important to give all citizens who wanted to speak an opportunity to be heard during the three public hearings prior to the regular meeting. A large number of residents wanted to speak to land issues and more waited through the evening for council to deal with the Three Mile Beach clothing optional issue, which didn’t come up until 11:30 p.m.
“In spite of the lateness, there was still some good discussion and debate. We didn’t rush anything,” the mayor said, adding he suspected prior to the beginning of the meeting it might go to 11 p.m.
The city has a bylaw requiring unanimous consent of council to extend a meeting past 11 p.m. Council consented to continuing the lengthy session on Tuesday night, knowing other contentious issues remained to be discussed.
“When dealing with issues that are emotionally charged, it’s difficult to know how long it’s going to take. However, it’s good to engage the community and take the time to let everyone have the chance to be heard,” Jakubeit said.
City of Penticton Communications Officer Simone Blais said close to 200 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, although it was difficult to say exactly how many because of the length of the proceedings. Roughly 100 people fit into council chambers, as well as an overflow room that was full to standing room only. Another holding area was also filled.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015