North Cowichan’s council decided to cancel some summer meetings, but busy schedules mean the issue may be revisited. (File photo)

North Cowichan’s council cancels some summer meetings

But increased work loads may see issue revisited

North Cowichan’s council will cut back on scheduled meetings this summer, as it does every year, despite the concerns of some councillors.

With a municipal election next November, and the possibility of a referendum on amalgamating with the City of Duncan in the spring, Coun. Joyce Behnsen said she expects it will be a busier summer than usual.

“If both North Cowichan and Duncan are to have one council this fall, we will have a lot of work to do,” she said.

“We’ve been elected to meet the needs of the public so I think we should continue on with the meetings.”

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A staff recommendation called for the cancellation of council meetings scheduled for July 4 and Aug. 1, as well as those on Jan. 3 and Oct. 17, in 2018.

The meetings are usually cancelled each year, typically because they are scheduled to take place in less busy times of the year.

Coun. Al Siebring agreed that summer can be just as busy as the rest of the year in North Cowichan, and the agendas at the few summer meetings that are usually scheduled can be long.

“Some of our summer meetings run until midnight,” he said.

“I’m tempted to put those summer meetings back in.”

But Coun. Tom Walker said it’s difficult to predict council’s work load each summer.

“Cutting back on our summer meetings has worked well for years,” he said.

“If in May, we decide our work loads will peak during the summer months, then we can decide to put them back in. It seems to me that some councillors tend to get off track in our debates and that’s one reason why we have some lengthy meetings.”

Ted Swabey, North Cowichan’s new CAO, acknowledged that the municipality is entering an election year, and issues can get “more complex.”

“If council chooses to work through the summer and have those meetings, they can,” he said.

Mayor Jon Lefebure agreed.

“If we need those meetings, we can schedule them later,” he said.

The motion to cancel the meetings was passed, with Behnsen and Siebring voting against it.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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