Tiny moving council meetings to Wednesdays starting next year

·2 min read

Tiny council will move its meetings to mid-week if electronic means of participation are still available to the public.

Elected officials pondered the decision at their recent meeting, which was held on Monday, a day chosen to allow seasonal residents the ability to participate in council proceedings and make deputations if needed.

"We're roughly 50/50 seasonal population and if the seasonal ones wanted to talk about something important, they could join the meeting on Monday," said Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma. "With the pandemic provisions, it's not really a problem."

Sue Walton, director of legisltative services and township clerk, said the IT department is looking into options to allow for electronic participation, not only for the public, but also for councillors once the pandemic is over.

Coun. Tony Mintoff said his only ask of staff would be to provide the agenda on the same day as now.

"These agendas seem to be growing in length and I'm finding it difficult to make sure I can thoroughly review all the documentation within a fairly compressed period of time," he said.

Walma explained that council members currently receive the meeting agenda towards the end of the day on Thursday.

"If questions about a report come up and we need background on it, we don't have that opportunity except for Friday," he said. "That's not a whole lot of turnaround time to read a 300-page report and formulate any rational thought. Sometimes you want to do a little bit of research on your own and chat with the public so you can have a good conversation about it."

As to why staff isn't being asked to deliver the agenda earlier, rather than moving the meeting day, Walma said, there are a hundred different ways of approaching this, however, Wednesday meetings are what council has adopted.

Laura Russell, senior administrative coordinator, presented the options to council at the Monday meeting.

"As we're still not clear and we're still not sure where we're headed in 2021, meetings held on a three-week rotation have been proposed until March 2021," she said, adding that staff is recommending council continue with consolidated meetings during the day time, with an evening rescheduling option available if a public planning meeting is to be held the same day.

The decision will be ratified at the Nov. 30 council meeting.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com