Let­ters to mayor, coun­cil de­bated

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By SU­SAN MCIVER

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.

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