Councillor promotes town hall conversations

Coun. Eric Zhelka launches series of town hall meetings to boost public input and share information about how local government works.

One Oak Bay councillor hopes a series of pre-committee town hall meetings will add public to input and inform residents about how local government works.

Coun. Eric Zhelka learned from a neighbour about a community engagement working group report from 2012 that detailed recommendations to increase engagement, such as the revamped municipal website and public participation during council meetings.

“I’ve been having meetings with community associations about once a month anyway,” Zhelka said. “It’s almost like a civics lesson, ‘how does governance work here in Oak Bay?’ I like to have a guest speaker to start off, then Q&A related to that, then walk through the agenda of the committee of the whole … really that’s the place where the public has the most opportunity to talk about it.”

The next committee meeting is slated for July 13 and Zhelka will hold the town hall the Saturday before (July 11), at noon at municipal hall.

“This seemed to be a way to not only get feedback on how I’m doing, but also to share in an easy-to-digest format,” he said.

During the recent Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention, he met the Oak Bay assessor for  BC Assessments, Reuben Danakody, who will be the guest speaker on July 11. He’ll address valuation in Oak Bay.

During its final council meeting of June, Zhelka said, council opted to refer the 2012 community engagement report forward for possible action in 2016.

“We’ve got some important things to talk about now,” Zhelka said. “I would prefer the dialogue be every month or every couple of months at most. In my opinion, there’s never enough community participation in our council business.”

The town hall is Saturday, July 11 at noon. Committee is July 13 at 7 p.m. both at municipal hall.

The next committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for September and Zhelka plans to have  Bryan Gates, president of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, speak during a town hall meeting the Saturday before.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read