Technology renders council meetings scheduling moot: Mono councillor

October 12, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono council meetings that take place during daytime working hours leave some residents who would like to attend at a disadvantage.

Of course, some residents and town staff would also be put off if the council meetings took place in the evenings.

Mono resident and avid town council follower Lewis Baker said at the Oct. 10 meeting that he recently spoke with a group of local farmers. He asked some of the farmers why he never sees them at the regular council meetings at town hall.

The farmers used to get to the occasional meeting when they were scheduled to take place in the evenings. Then, when council meetings started taking place in the mornings with a 9 a.m. start time, it became impossible for a farmer to leave the fields for the council chamber gallery.

Considering the lack of attendance, Baker suggested council hold a special highly publicized meeting to ask the public what can be done to bolster the number of people in the gallery.

“I think that should happen as quick as possible and have significant priority over most of the things on the agenda,” Baker said.

Mayor John Creelman said council is experimenting with a daytime meeting schedule. He isn’t certain how long that experiment will continue.

“We are going to revisit that,” Creelman said.

Meetings in the evenings can be gruelling, Creelman said, and can go on until past 10 p.m.

“At least with daytime meetings we have the flexibility of sitting past noon,” he said. “As for a special meeting, we recently had a town hall meeting that was fairly well attended.”

The mayor said that the special meeting was bereft of presentations in favour of questions from the public.

“I’m not certain what more you expect us to have,” he said. “You have your analysis of how well we’re doing. And we have differing analyses from other residents.”

Councillor Ralph Manktelow said he suggested council move its meetings to the daytime on a trial basis for a year. People from the community weren’t coming to meetings at night. And it was felt that councillors and municipal staff would be more productive during day hours than at night after working a full day.

Coun. Melinda Davie agreed that a post-workday meeting is tiring to people. She suggested there be a compromise by way of afternoon council meetings.

She said the heavily advertised meetings are broadcast over the internet now. As such, a farmer can tune in and even ask a question of council from the fields.

“It is so convenient now with our technology,” Davie said.

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