Mayor OK with CBRM council not meeting according to policy

·2 min read

Cape Breton Regional Municipality's new council has only met twice since the general election in October, even though its policy calls for two council meetings a month.

But Mayor Amanda McDougall says that's OK, because she's planning a complete overhaul of the policy.

"Part of my campaign running for mayor was being able to engage the public as much as possible throughout the meeting session," she said. "Having people sit there hours and hours and hours and wait for their item to come up on the agenda ... is not the most meaningful way to engage people in the municipal decision-making process."

In addition, she said, some sessions ran late into the evening and deliberations were not always thorough as time went on.

According to the policy, council is to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month, but a working group of the mayor and senior staff can change the date, time and location of meetings if necessary.

However, since the October elections, CBRM's new council has only met on two occasions and only one of those was according to the policy's schedule.

Tom Ayers/CBC
Tom Ayers/CBC

The last council meeting was Dec. 8 and McDougall said the next is tentatively set for Jan. 26.

"If there was something that needed to be immediately addressed, we would have held a special council meeting, but there's nothing ... pressing right now," she said.

In the meantime, a session is being planned for later this month with all of council to discuss changes to the policy.

The mayor said council may choose to meet more or less frequently, could change the time of the meetings and may consider holding some meetings on specific topics, such as planning.

"I'm not worried that we're not following the former policy of two meetings a month," McDougall said.

"We're doing the work that's necessary to really set the course for strong decision-making and meaningful engagement in our council process."