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Maple Ridge council could cancel day meetings

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Maple Ridge council is looking at scrapping its daytime meetings and rolling them all into the evening, so they’re easier for everyone to get to.

Coun. Tyler Shymkiw proposed on Tuesday that the three Monday morning workshop meetings held each month be folded into the committee of the whole meetings for a trial, five-month period.

Those committee of the whole meetings (where items are discussed but not voted on) would take place twice a month on Tuesday evenings.

Two regular council meetings also would take place, the other two Tuesday evenings in a month.

The end result is that the Monday morning workshops and the Monday afternoon committee meetings would cease.

Shymkiw is proposing the changes to improve access to council.

“There are too many people who can’t run for office because they can’t get the day off,” said Shymkiw.

“There’s all sorts of awesome people who would make great councillors.”

Council over the past year has also increased the number of daytime workshop meetings, he added.

Committee of the whole is a meeting where bylaws or topics are first introduced to council but not voted on. Items are usually then sent on to regular council for voting.

Workshops are where councillors are expected to hash things out informally, but votes are often taken.

Having all of the votes take place at the evening meetings would help transparency, he added.

The change would mean adding about another eight evening meetings over the course of a year.

It will cost, however, about another $33,000 in overtime wages because city planning staff would have to work more evenings.

On the other hand, staff would be spared having to attend meetings all day Monday.

Mayor Nicole Read said she was concerned about evening meetings running late and the effect on staff.

And she pointed out, the extra overtime costs only cover planning staff, not other departments that may have work evenings.

But Coun. Bob Masse said other cities already follow such schedules and it would only be for a trial five-month period.

A staff report noted that Delta, Chilliwack and Prince George all function without regular committee of the whole meetings.

But the report didn’t explain the practice in other Metro Vancouver cities.

Council will discuss the proposal later – at a council workshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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