Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No slides, no notes and nary a Facebook post from Council when it comes to LNG conference

Monday's council session wandered through a number of items both on the Agenda and of a free form style, yet by the time the evening came to an end, there was nothing to share from our municipal representatives when it came to a recent LNG conference in Vancouver.

The City it seems was represented at that conference, Councillor Kinney providing the travel notice at last Friday's Regional District meeting, with the Councillor noting, but not listing for the SQCRD officials, that a number of  council members from Prince Rupert were in Vancouver for the event.

The LNG in BC Conference, which was the third annual event, highlighted the state of the LNG industry in 2015 with the Liberal Government of Premier Clark still anticipating strong results from their efforts to build an industry from the ground up.

The gathering brought together a range of municipal and provincial officials, as well as key industry players, with a number of workshops and information sessions designed to showcase the progress of the industry, with a number of key announcements made and information sessions taking place during the three days.

The province outlined some of  background to the events at the end of the conference.

Third annual conference breaks new ground for LNG future

Considering the investment that the North Coast would seem to have in the proposed LNG industry, it's puzzling that those that may have been in attendance, did not share any of their findings from the three days in Vancouver.

In previous years, when Council members would travel on city business out of town, they would following their return (though not always) provide a short update at the next available public session of Council, eager it seemed to inform the Council members and those at home as to what they had learned from their travels.

Council Members reportedly
were in attendance at the
LNG in BC conference in
Vancouver Oct 14-16 
That at times proved to be part of the focus of then Mayor Mussallem's session ending Mayor's Report, which featured a thumbnail sketch if you will of his travels on behalf of the city.

In the case of this month's LNG conference however, despite a fairly active Social media engagement on a number of topics from City Hall and the recent hiring of a Communications Manager by the City, the only indication that Council members were even out of town, comes by way of the minutes of a Regional District Council session, not a document that we imagine gets a lot of reading.

This highlights what appears to be a few policy shortcomings of late when it comes to what the City and City Council as a whole considers information that may be of interest to the public.

While the City offers up notes on community events and the some of the latest spending initiatives of the Mayor and Council as part of a frequent stream of information through its range of media options.

For the most part when it comes to updates on key issues that would surely be of interest to the public (Watson Island, CityWest, labour issues and Lot 444 developments, to name a few) those larger and potentially more controversial topics are left out of the flow of regular information from City Hall.

As for the theme of road trips on city business, when it comes to transparency on travel issues, residents of the City shouldn't have to read the fine print of another body of government's meeting minutes to learn what their municipal officials have been up to.

That it would seem, is the kind of information that should be made available on the city's own website, advising residents when their elected officials are away on business on behalf of the city.

In larger cities, updates on the work of their Council members and their travel is fairly easy to find, with those larger communities even providing an easy to access review of expenses claimed during those kinds of trips.

It's really not too much to expect that we be told in a timely fashion that council members and senior staff may be travelling on our dime and when Council members return, we should also receive some form of a report from those that were away, advising us as to what information they have brought back with them from their journey.

For more items related to City Council developments see our archive page here.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct. If a Councillor is travelling to an event on the taxpayer's dime, they should return with a report on what transpired at the event and what, if any, their participation was.