Sooke mayor shuffles committee structure

Five committees will disband as Sooke Mayor Maja Tait makes major tweaks in an effort to increase public participation

Five committees will disband as Sooke Mayor Maja Tait makes major tweaks to the district advisory committees.

The Sooke Program of the Arts, Sooke Community Centre, parks and trails, climate change and community grant committees will dissolve into three new council committees: protective services and community safety, community development, and arts and culture.

“There has been a desire to have greater public participation. I wanted to do something that included public members and would also have solid [municipal] staff support,” Tait said.

The new committee structure will see residents appointed to a committee, along with two council members. The mayor is an ex officio member of each committee. The Board of Variance will continue. It’s considered a statutory committee under provincial legislation.

Tait said it was timely to restructure the committees, since most were up for renewal. A quest by council to open the process was also important.

“I think there’s always been an interest to have a greater public consultation and it’s about how you go about doing it in a way that’s constructive,” Tait said.

For months, municipal staff observed the former committees, which formed the foundation for the tri-committee structure.

“The quality of staff support will be dramatically improved as staff support will be provided not only for minutes, but also procedural support as well,” said Teresa Sullivan, the district’s chief administrative officer.

“The new format will improve the overall governance structure by improving the resolutions going to council.”

Members of the public are invited to apply for appointment to a committee. Application forms are available online at sooke.ca or at the district office, 2205 Otter Point Rd.