Councillor's notice of motion seeks new format for council's public meetings

FILE PHOTO - Penticton city councillor Helena Konanz is pictured in this file photo.

PENTICTON - A Penticton city councillor would like city staff to see if there are better ways for council to conduct their public meetings.

Coun. Helena Konanz says a notice of motion she intends to present at tonight’s council meeting is being brought forward because she feels the city has outgrown its present meeting schedule.

She is asking staff at city hall to research the schedules of council meetings and public hearings in other municipalities and report back to council with options for beneficial changes to the 2017 council meeting and public hearing schedule.

Since the inception of present council, several council meetings have turned into marathon sessions lasting three hours or more. Often those meetings have included public hearings which, by themselves, have lasted more than two hours.

“Decisions made late at night after lengthy meetings following a full day probably aren’t the best,” she says. “It’s not good for citizens in the gallery.”

Konanz has done some research of her own and found other communities have council meeting during the day and hold public hearings in the evening.

In Penticton, the public hearing goes before the regular council meeting. She says it can be difficult to know how long the public hearing will take and it can take a long time to make sure everyone at the hearing is heard.

“I see this as a practical motion. I think there are better ways of doing it,” she says.

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