North Cowichan will not create any new volunteer advisory committees until at least October, council decided at its meeting on April 17.
With the exception of the forest advisory committee, which is busy helping to determine the long-range future of the municipality’s municipal forest reserve, council had held off on establishing new advisory committees until it completed its overall strategic plan for North Cowichan, which was adopted last month.
However, with the strategic plan now complete, council determined that it wants to wait until one year into its term, which will be in October, to re-evaluate volunteer advisory committees.
Broadly speaking, the vision of the strategic plan states that during the term of this council, it will act to maintain and strengthen North Cowichan as an economically thriving and sustainable community of unique and inclusive towns and neighbourhoods, preserving its agricultural rural countryside, and stewarding healthy forests, rivers and lakes.
“We believes that it is important to allow time for the organization to align with council’s new strategic plan prior to establishing additional committees,” said Mayor Al Siebring.
“In addition, October coincides with the beginning of the 2020 budget development cycle, making it a prudent time to reconsider whether advisory committees are desired moving forward.”
In the meantime, Siebring said all members of council will sit on a committee of the whole, which allows council to meet in a less formal and structured manner to discuss issues.
Siebring said the committee of the whole, while made up of all members of council, has limited decision-making powers.
“In most cases, it will report and make recommendations to council,” he said.
“Committee of the whole agendas will be published on North Cowichan’s website, and meetings will be open to the public. The timing and frequency of committee of the whole meetings will be determined at an upcoming council meeting.”
Siebring said during the last municipal election campaign while he was running for mayor that, if elected, he intended to try and restructure some of the municipality’s many committees to make them more efficient and effective.
He said at the time that he’d like to see fewer committees that meet more often.