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Time to revisit more compact council, shorter calendar

WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — Kamloops City council held its regular weekly meeting this week (actually, it will be taking a break for much of the summer) and conducted a lot of business on planning, bylaws, delegations and other matters.

It did so with only eight members, as it has done for the past several months since Coun. Nancy Bepple resigned due to health reasons.

Denis Walsh (centre) talks to council about Stuart Wood.

Council business still gets done.

While Bepple’s contributions to debate are missed, the business of council has carried on unhindered. One would be hard-pressed to name a decision that was made less efficiently because of the reduction in the number of people at the table. (Some votes are being defeated due to a 4-4 tie vote but they might have been defeated anyway.)

An argument could even be made that one less voice in the debate actually makes things move a little more quickly. So, what if there were only six councillors and a mayor on a full-time basis, as was proposed in this space several months ago?

Fewer members of council, less cost, quicker decisions. Cutting the size of council from nine members to seven may be an idea whose time has come.

And, while we’re at it, watch and see if the summer break has any negative effect on life in the Tournament Capital. Council will meet only once between now and Sept. 9. Will any important business not get done?

So, what would happen if B.C.’s City councils operated on an assembly system, as is the case in Kamloops’ sister city, Uji, Japan? There, instead of weekly meetings, the City council meets in sessions only at certain times of the year in the same way our own provincial legislature and federal parliaments do. (By the way, the mayor of Uji does not chair council meetings, and Japanese municipal councils have broader powers than ours do.)

If such a system were to be adopted for our City councils, a lot of the everyday stuff such as delegations and correspondence would have to be handled differently, but new laws would still be passed in a timely manner. And, quite possibly, more efficiently and more economically.

 

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About Mel Rothenburger (6877 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on Time to revisit more compact council, shorter calendar

  1. The most value in the number of councillors is not in their discussion or voting during council meetings but in their accessibility in the community. It’s a common occurrence to bump into one or more councillors at community events or on the street. With a large council, we are able to elect political and social diversity and most of us should be able to find a councillor with whom we are comfortable discussing our concerns. Reducing the number of councillors would reduce accessibility and diversity.

  2. Have never understood the need for the amount of Councillors we have. More people does not equal better decisions.

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