Thank you Your Worship. I am Fred Dawkins, 827 West 19th, and I’m here tonight representing North Van City Voices.
At last week’s Council meeting, during the recess public input period near the end of the meeting, questions from two members of the public were cut off by you, Your Worship, because their questions were as you put it, “about motions that had been carried.” The published rules for public input only stipulate that the questions must be related to items on that night’s agenda, which these certainly were. The mayor’s action seems to contradict past practice. Has the public input policy been changed?
We asked the City Clerk for clarification, but Ms Graham’s email reply unfortunately did not shed any light on this. She suggested that the public can direct such questions to staff after the meeting. But in our view, conversations in private are not a substitute for having answers aired in a public forum for all to hear.
Your Worship, we ask that if you or this Council have decided to limit public input in this manner, these new rules should be spelled out in the published guidelines – currently they are not. Better yet, we ask that you return to the past practice of allowing the public to seek clarification on Council decisions during the recess period that immediately follows those decisions.
In our view, restricting and discouraging public input is contrary to the interests of good governance and encouraging public involvement.