Mission council meeting times are being changed and topics for discussion during question period are being broadened.
Beginning at the next council meeting on Jan. 19, committee of the whole meetings will take place at 1 p.m. inside council chambers, and regular council meetings, including public hearings, will start at 7 p.m. on the same evening. The Monday meeting dates remain unchanged.
Previously, committee of the whole meetings were held at 6 p.m., followed by the regular council meetings. Wednesdays were also reserved for meetings on larger issues or overflow items from the week’s agenda.
Council approved the changes this week, but one councillor was opposed to the meeting time changes.
Coun. Jenny Stevens said changing the meeting times back to the way it used to be more than 10 years ago is “not a good idea.”
Stevens believes it would make it more difficult for councillors and the public who work during the day to participate.
“I would like for (meetings) to remain in the evening,” said Stevens.
Conducting the committee of the whole meetings in the afternoon is more economic and more efficient, noted Mayor Randy Hawes.
“I have concerns about staff being here all day, and now are here at night,” said Hawes, who added staff only need to be at the meeting when items from their department come up.
Coun. Jim Hinds noted having one designated meeting day will allow councillors to attend community events on other days.
Allowing open dialogue during question period will make council more accessible to the public, Hawes added.
“(People) don’t have to be there that night,” he said.
In the past, the public was only allowed to ask questions related to the night’s agenda.
According to the district’s policy on question period, each member of the public will have up to three minutes to ask a question, and council reserves the right to defer a response if the information is not available. Question period is limited to 15 minutes at the end of each meeting.