Need for more and better interaction of TBL council with residents
With the upcoming election, we expect to welcome new members to the TBL Council. With the thought that “hope springs eternal,” two long-time TBL residents express below some thoughts for improving our council’s performance — with the hope that change will result.
A) Mayors and councillors, including those with municipal governing experience, should attend sessions provided by the provincial government explaining the role of a municipal council. (If they are not mentally or temperamentally equipped for the job — they should not have run for office!)
They are elected to govern the municipality in a way that is best for the residents. They are agents representing their constituents and theirs is often a selling job. Where a councillor’s constituents are not in agreement with a council decision, it is incumbent on their councillor to provide credible arguments explaining how and on what basis he/she voted. (In our experience, Robin Moore was one of the few past councillors to a) determine how his constituents felt about an important project, and b) give a public explanation in case he voted for a different solution.)
B) The conduct of public TBL Council meetings must change.
Council meetings have become so routine (and uninformative) that average attendance has dropped from 50 (when Gilles Decelles was mayor) to 15 or less under Richard Burcombe. Meetings are conducted according to a script. There is no public discussion (any discussion having taken place behind closed doors during the “working meeting” held the previous week). As a consequence, residents have no idea of the basis for the decision, or their own councillor’s role in the discussion. There should be public debate at council meetings, at least over new and potentially controversial issues.
C) Local informal meetings in each electoral district should be more frequent. The local councillor should be allowed to preside (the mayor being back-up when necessary).
1) Discussion should revolve around plans affecting the locality, such as changes being considered, or in progress, regarding development, zoning bylaws, minor variances, etc.