Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Councillor Cunningham seeks guidance on city administration's policy on council presentations

Councillor Barry Cunningham 
spoke to the theme of access 
to Council on Monday night 
Councillor Barry Cunningham highlighted a missing element from Monday's Council session, with notes on what had been an attempt from members of the community to speak as a delegation at this weeks City Council meeting.

Towards the end of Monday's session, the councillor outlined some feedback he had received from members of a delegation who were told that they could not present as part of the evening's Committee of the Whole. 

The COW as it's known, is a process of City Council sessions actually designed to solicit some community contribution; though with COVID the process does seem somewhat confusing and not particularly welcoming for would be participants. 

To Mr Cunningham's commentary on the topic,  he observed:

"I was phoned today about a group today that wanted to bring in a petition for the Committee of the Whole and they were told there was already one delegation and I wondered if Rosa, or Dr. Long could enlighten me if we are limited to just one delegation or not, for the Committee of the Whole, on that particular thing. Because it was a fairly important petition and delegation they wanted to speak on a very controversial project"

In reply, the City's Corporate Administrator Rosa Miller outlined how according to the Bylaw in effect, Council can have up to three presentations/delegations per session, depending on the Agenda and what that might look like. 

She also noted as part of her overview of the situation that she had spoken with the Mayor and Dr. Long towards the topic.  

"I will be reaching out to this individual to ensure that they do have an opportunity to speak with council, so it's not that they're not permitted, it's just that we have to ensure that we have sufficient time for them to present their information.

With an eye on the calendar and the next potential speaking opportunity, Councillor Cunningham, while not sharing any further details as to the nature of the controversial project or the delegation,  asked if the civic administration could perhaps make an allowance to the usual process in place for such contributions.

"Could we possibly instead of a waiting a month for the next Committee of the Whole, have them on the Agenda for the next Regular meeting as a delegation"

Towards that request, the Corporate Administrator noted that she would make note of it and report back to the Councillor.

The current policy on presenting to Council can be explored here.

You can review the exchange from the evening from the City's Video Archive page, starting at the Two hour, thirty eight minute mark.

Earlier in the evening, Councillor Cunningham had noted his disappointment in the participation level of community members when it comes to the city's efforts towards consultation on the city's zoning survey. 

Though perhaps his question to the Corporate Administrator on the Committee of the Whole and some of the other recent measures Council and the City have put in place as part of their COVID response could offer some answers. 

Serving as they seem to do at times, to reduce much opportunity, or even desire for the public to navigate the mixed messaging that the city seems to offer up when it comes to any kind of engagement with the public.

For more notes from Monday's Council Session see our Council Timeline feature here.

A wider overview of past City Council discussion themes can be found here.


  1. What does time have anything to do with stepping on the taxpayers rights. The taxpayer should have first say that is why the COW is at the start of the meeting. If the rules say three groups let them speak. I don't know the rest of the policy but I bet there is nothing to stop them picking up the meeting the next day.

    As for disappointment in so few commenting on bylaw changes people have to know this stuff is going on. It is a fallacy that a lot of people use or are aware of what the city is doing. Half the city information can only be found on the Facebook page. Only 64% of the population belong to Facebook. The city shuts out 36% of the population every time they post on Facebook

    1. You need to factor this into your equation as well.
      36% of eligible Prince Rupert voters, turned out to vote in the last election.
      That is the definition of apathy, Merriam-Webster needs to be updated.

  2. Nothing seems to please barry more than complaining at the end of meetings. obviously whoevers does city agenda made a good call not adding more since these guys someohow took 3 hours to meet this week!

  3. was the 'very controversial project' the 11th ave housing proposal I wonder? or....that will be fun to watch

  4. again the NCR follows around cunningham like a puppy... you have failed to mention that Barry's complaints about lack of participation were shot down so hard by Adey & the planning guy that it was higher they had ever seen online for a zoning bylaw change

    you seem to watch these meetings selectively in order to maximize the number of times that barry gets a headline. but every headline could literally be categorized as 'councillor cuningham complains about...'

    1. Firstly, if you take the time to review the Council Timeline for the meeting, then you will see Councillor Adey's comments as well as the contribution from the city's contract planner front and centre ... they weren't relevant to the story above about a resident who wanted to participate and seemingly wasn't allowed ...

      Secondly, the only reason I make as much mention of Councillor Cunningham as much as you seem to believe I do, is that for the most part he's one of the few Councillors that actually says anything during the meetings ...

      But you keep to your narrative, and thanks for the contribution NCR

  5. What a sorry state of affairs that Barry has to raise these issues.

    The procedure bylaw section 24 provides that delegations can appear before regular council meetings (not just COW) with seven days notice; the council can waive any of the notice requirements by simple majority; the council "may", not "must", limit a meeting to three petitions or delegations, and if they do impose a limit they can change that anytime by resolution.

    It really comes down to whether the City wants to listen to citizens and groups. I think that Barry wants a more open government, councillor Randhawa likewise, and the rest I'm not sure of.