Coun. Judy Brownoff want to limit council meetings of all types to no more than four hours. (Black Press File)

Saanich councillor wants to limit length of council meetings

Coun. Judy Brownoff says long meetings create perception of ineffectiveness

A Saanich councillor wants to limit the length of meetings.

Coun. Judy Brownoff has submitted a report to council in which she notes that council, committee of the whole meetings, and public hearings have gone well beyond 11 p.m. A review of recent meetings confirms this point.

Councillors met not once, but twice for more than six hours in June alone, first on June 10 for a special council meeting followed by a committee of the whole meeting, then again on June 18 for a public hearing that actually included a pizza break for councillors, staff and the public. The day before — June 17 — councillors had met for more than four hours. On July 8, councillors met for more than four hours.

RELATED: Pizza brightens Saanich public hearing

“Members of the public are noting their concern with [council]’s effective decision making ability and the public’s input into the late hours of the evening or next morning,” said Brownoff in her report.

Other councillors have made a comparable argument.

As councillors were debating Natural Saanich, ambitious process to replace the rescinded Environmental Development Permit Area bylaw, during the early morning hours of June 11, Coun. Susan Brice urged her colleagues to press the pause debate on the debate, citing among others reasons the hour.

“I just don’t think good decisions are made early in the morning, quite frankly,” she said.

RELATED: Saanich councillor warns of ‘torturous experience’ as they consider replacing EDPA

Brownoff would now like to see all types of council meetings end by 10 p.m. Unless a two-thirds majority of council extend the meeting, the chair would have the power to declare another meeting date and time to deal with any outstanding issues.

If extended, the meeting would continue until 11 p.m. “[And] if there are still agenda items the [chair] will declare a date and time for those items to be dealt with,” she said in her report.

If council were to change Saanich’s procedure bylaw, it would come some two years after Saanich council voted to alternate between regular council meetings and committee-of-the-whole meetings to cut down the length of meetings. “After several hours of concentration, especially late at night, the ‘intellectual capacity’ of any group is compromised by mental fatigue,” said a staff report at the time. “This can lead to less effective communications, and reduced decision-making quality.”

The public, however, had also heard at the time that meetings themselves might not get any shorter, with staff saying that it would be hard to foresee the length of meetings. Then-mayor Richard Atwell said the length of meetings depends on the number of contentious issues and council’s ability to limit and schedule them.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Victim Kim Ward, 51, died on scene at the August 2018 crash

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Nuisance tree will remain on perimeter of Fireman’s Park

Council re-affirm pledge to protecting healthy tree canopy

Central Saanich hosts NEAT program to help seniors connect with each other

Health promotion program aims to reduce social isolation among seniors

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

Fire response at Trans Mountain Burnaby tank farm could take six hours: audit

Site doesn’t have mutual aid response agreement with Burnaby fire department

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Tickets available for Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame dinner and induction

Ryan Cochrane, Mike Piechnick and Rob Short among the inductees

Most Read