Letters to mayor, council debated
SUMMERLAND — When letters and emails to mayor and council are made public has become a hot button issue primarily for residents opposing the location of the regional compost facility in Summerland.
“This feels like 2013 before the last election,” Grant Thompson told council Tuesday.
He was referring to the land swap controversy that ended in the clean sweep of the previous council in the 2014 municipal elections.
On Oct. 9, Dave Smith wrote to council, “In reviewing the agenda for the Oct. 10, 2017 regular Summerland Council meeting, I notice that my letter to council submitted Sept. 5 is not included in the correspondence. Further, I am aware of several other letters written to council before the deadline for inclusion in the agenda, that also have been arbitrarily suppressed, yet they appear to me that they meet standards for consideration of council.”
At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, chief administrative officer addressed the question of why the letters were not included in the agenda package.
In summary, she said that the working policy is to make public only those letters pertaining to items on the agenda.
She explained that at the Aug. 28 meeting, consideration of the resolution to grant RDOS access to the Summerland landfill site to carry out technical studies related to the proposed facility was tabled until Oct. 23 when all councillors could be present.
Coun. Erin Carlson is on maternity leave until Oct. 21.
“The letters will be made public along with staff reports for the Oct. 23 meeting,” she said.
Tynan said that she forwards all incoming correspondence about the facility to councillors once a week.
“It is critical that the public be able to view letters in a chronological order and timely fashion, so they may understand when these issues have been presented to council,” Smith wrote.
Furthermore he wrote, “This (holding letters until topic discussed by council) does not meet the effective communication and transparency that our municipality has promised it citizens.”
“Since the issue has already been brought forward, I think any letters from the public are relevant,” Amy Harper said during the public comment period.