Bum numbing meetings

Whoever it was who coined the phrase “Time is Money” just about had it right.

Whoever it was who coined the phrase “Time is Money” just about had it right.

Time is probably much more valuable than money because, once spent, it can never be recovered or replaced.

This is just one of the reasons why the people in charge of public meetings owe it to everyone, including themselves, to keep things moving at a reasonable clip.

A good starting point would be to assume that everyone in the municipal council chamber on a Monday night has something worthwhile to do when they leave the building. We’re not minimizing the importance of what goes on at these meetings, only suggesting that they can be every bit as productive, maybe more so, when someone well-versed in the council’s procedure bylaw has the green light to speak up when the process bogs down.

Complex and important issues deserve thorough and careful consideration and debate. Many other facets of a regular council or committee of the whole meeting can be streamlined by requiring members of council and the public to brush up on their summarizing skills.

The district’s council procedure bylaw sets out a 10-minute limit for a delegation. The limit may be waived by council… with no maximum.

Both delegations addressing the Committee of the Whole on February 7 were legitimate concerns, each worthy of a higher public profile, each edging much closer to 60 minutes than 10 in their presentations and neither making any specific request.

Members of the public made full use of their access to the podium… some making as many as six trips to the microphone in order to share their views.

Neither the media nor the public gets any more fatigued than do members of district council or staff as the clock pushes into the late evening on a Monday night. Quite often there could be another hour or more to endure with an in-camera session.

What we suggest is that time-saving measures be sought, and where possible without violating anyone’s right to free expression, be put in effect.

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