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Evening Kamloops council meetings? City councillor thinks more people would attend

Coun. Dale Bass, wearing a pink shirt ahead of Pink Shirt Day, is pictured at the Feb. 26, 2019 Kamloops city council meeting.
February 27, 2019 - 12:52 PM

KAMLOOPS - A newly elected Kamloops city councillor would like to move council meetings from the afternoon into the evenings in the hope of making them more accessible to the public.

Coun. Dale Bass submitted a notice of motion at yesterday's, Feb. 26, meeting asking for a later start time for council meetings. Council will discuss her motion on March 5.

Bass said the later start time would not only make regular city council meetings more accessible to the public, it would encourage engagement.

"It became crystal clear during the discussion on childcare where I had parents calling me upset about the childcare situation," Bass said. "They want to come to council but they can't because they're at work and the childcare operators want to come to council to talk about it but they can't because they're at work."

Bass added that in order to encourage younger people to run for council, having meetings outside of regular nine-to-five hours would provide an opportunity for people to learn firsthand about what goes on.

"We want to see younger people running for council," she said. "If you have a day job, for example, are you going to be able to come to council meetings to educate yourselves so that you know that you really want to run for it?"

She also says it would be better for current city council members who also have other jobs to juggle.

"It's easy to come to council if you don't have a day job," Bass said.

Coun. Bill Sarai, who also works as a mail carrier, said he is still considering how much additional cost there would be for taxpayers with evening meetings and he wonders if staff will have to work additional hours beyond their regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule.

"I will have to get more info before I can make a decision one way or another," Sarai said in a Facebook message.

Bass admits they will never get everybody to attend.

"Some people work nights, but we will get more people if we start later in the day."

Kelowna and Vernon have regular city council meetings starting at 1:30 p.m., although in Kelowna holds public hearings Tuesday evenings followed by a council meeting. Penticton city council meetings start at 1 p.m. West Kelowna's regular council meetings alternate between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. start times.

Bass said Nanaimo starts council meetings at 4 p.m.

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