Editorial: More time needed with council agendas

Councillors and the public need longer with materials to prepare for council meetings

Oak Bay Coun. Eric Zhelka believes council – and the public – deserve more lead time to peruse the agenda and supporting materials before council’s various meetings.

Zhelka issued a notice of motion Oct. 24 to modify the procedure bylaw to allow for final agenda distribution three working days ahead of a meeting instead of the current one day.

“I’d like to see that for all public meetings,” Zhelka said.

The motion stems from comments and concerns he hears around the speed of change in Oak Bay, in particular regarding the recent initiative to speed up some council and administrative procedures that could affect development, and the increased number of public meetings, such as those coming up on Fridays, he said.

The motion, expected at the Nov. 14 council meeting, would ask that the procedure bylaw change to mirror those governing the Advisory Planning Commission, where the agenda package is provided to commission members at least three working days prior to the scheduled meeting date and posted to the district website.

Council is expected to review and reflect on numerous documents, reports and other materials each week, not only for council and committee of the whole meetings but also for the other committees they serve on. To make informed decisions, they require adequate time to read and digest the information, ask questions and seek more information, if warranted.

Residents interested in keeping abreast of what’s happening in their neighbourhood also deserve time to learn about what’s coming up.

We agree that one day is not sufficient. Yes, sometimes things come up that must be addressed in a more urgent timeframe, but by and large, more time with the material is definitely due all involved.