Vernon council decides town hall meetings aren't needed

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund

VERNON - Elected representatives believe Vernon residents have all the opportunities they need to raise issues with the city. 

That’s why council has opted against hosting periodic town hall meetings in which citizens can bring up any topic they wish to discuss. Councillors voted 5-2 at a meeting Monday, Aug. 10, to keep things status quo. 

“We believe our council is readily available for discussion with the public,” Mayor Akbal Mund says.

Individual councillors are available by phone, email, and in some cases social media, Mund says, adding the city already hosts a number of focused town hall style meetings in conjunction with major projects and the annual budget process.

“We’re out at a lot of events as well where we’re asked questions,” Mund says. “It’s not like we’re hiding in offices.”

Only a handful of people attended three days of public input sessions into the budget this past year, Mund says, and he questions whether anyone would even participate in additional town hall meetings. He also questions what they would accomplish.

“Past experience has shown they (town hall meetings) do get argumentative rather than getting anything done,” Mund says.

This isn’t the first time public consultation has been on the city’s radar. In 2007 council adopted a question and answer period to be held at the close of every regular open council meeting (typically held twice a month on Mondays starting at 1:30 p.m.) The practice was abandoned, however, due to lack of participation.

Mund reminds residents council is just a phone call, letter or email away, and encourages anyone interested to get in touch.

“The most important part is, if you have something you want to discuss, you’re more than welcome to put it on the plate and we’ll discuss it with you,” Mund says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 1 p.m. Aug. 17 to correct the deciding vote to 5-2. 

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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