Make the most of your time at council: attend committee

Off-site council participation could rise as webcasting looms in Oak Bay’s future

Streamed council and committee meetings could start as early as this month and some residents may not fully recognize the difference between the two types of meetings.

“Committee of the Whole tends to be more of an opportunity to explore a variety of issues in a more relaxed, open way,” says Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.

In Oak Bay – not all communities do it this way – the committee is a roll-up-the-sleeves evening where residents, council members and staff sit around a table in council chambers. It’s where new projects, rezoning applications or variances sought are often introduced.

It’s not unusual for an application to return to consecutive committee meetings as proponents and staff fill information gaps, before the committee – made up of council – makes its recommendation to council.

Those recommendations go back to council, where they can choose to follow their own advice, or if there’s new information, alter the decision.

“It’s not always a done deal,” Jensen said. “There’s more of a give and take (at committee) that’s in sharp contrast to the council meeting.”

Council is a legislative, decision-making setting where members are on a raised platform, the mayor wears the chains of office and staff line one wall of the room answering questions only through the chair of the meeting. Those in the galley, or audience, rise as mayor and council enter at the start of the meeting.

Two or three years ago, Oak Bay introduced the 20-minute public participation section to the council agenda. Speakers are limited in time but can talk about anything that relates to the community, whether it’s on the agenda or not.

“I’d seen it work in other boards. It gives people the ability to have their say on Oak Bay,” Jensen said.

There are other meetings as well. Advisory bodies to council include the Advisory Planning Commission established last year, Uplands Design Panel and the Heritage Commission.

The commissions, panel and police board generally meet once a month.

The Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission holds more authority, working with its own budget and having the ability to make day-to-day decisions. “They’re mandated and powered,” Jensen said.

In Oak Bay, committee meetings are held generally once a month with council often twice – with summer meetings more sparse.

When crowds are expected, council or committee will shift its meeting (most common for a public hearing) to a larger venue. The recent Committee of the Whole meeting devoted to the Uplands sewer separation project hosted at Monterey rec centre was a good example.

Committee next meets April 18 and council  April 25. All meetings start at 7 p.m., usually in chambers at municipal hall, 2167 Oak Bay Ave. Meeting agendas and minutes are also available online at oakbay.ca.

 

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read