Wednesday, January 18, 2017

City Council cancels Regular council session for January 23rd; owing to inability to finalize Agenda items

There's one less council meeting for Prince Rupert resident's to cross off their list of public sessions this year, with the City of Prince Rupert announcing that it is cancelling the Regular Council Meeting for January 28th, as well as the Committee of the Whole Session scheduled for that date.

In a short Notice posted to the City's Website today, the City noted that the cancellation was required owing to a number of Agenda items which the city notes are unable to be finalized prior to Monday's scheduled meeting.

The notice further notes that any items that had been scheduled for review at the January 23rd meeting would be considered at the next regular scheduled meeting set for February 6th, 2017.

Its the first time in many years that the City has decided to cancel a session outright, owing to a volume of work or any other reason.

check of our archives over the last five years shows that Council has only cancelled one regularly scheduled session, that in August of 2012, at that time it was a lack of items of note for consideration and summer vacation plans that were given as the reason. 

In 2014, Council eliminated the late August session, by 2016 City Council members had further reduced their calendar of public sessions to 20 sessions, allowing for just one meeting in July, August and September.

The decision to just do away with the late January Council meeting based mainly on a theme of prep time is a puzzling one.

Especially if one considers the increase in staff members that have been added to the City Hall roster over the last two years. Something  that one would think should have provided for more resources for the city's administration to prepare for a timely delivery of scheduled public sessions.

Why the City has decided to add the January 23rd work load to the February 6th session, rather than rescheduling the cancelled session for later in the week, or the week to follow, was not offered up in their Wednesday advisory.

One item of note related to the cancellation is the lost opportunity for January allowing for the public to raise issues in front of the Council members.

The final meeting of each month normally offers up a short period through the Committee of the Whole session for comments and observations from the public, one of the few chances that citizens have to engage with the elected representatives in a public forum setting.

The move to shift all of the work to February also means that the Public Hearing related to the Interim Zoning Amendment Bylaw to move forward with a temporary prohibition on Commercial Marijuana Operations will now be heard on February 6th.

More items of note from City Hall can be found on our Council Discussion page.

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