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Council discusses meeting venue

Nanaimo city council will decide Monday (Dec. 17) if it wants to keep committee of the whole meetings at the Shaw Auditorium so they can be recorded and made available to residents on the Internet.

Council’s committee of the whole meetings, which run on Monday’s opposite regular council meetings, generally deal with the same issues but are less formal and council is not able to pass bylaws.

Historically, council has performed the meetings in the small confines of the board room at city hall, but in February the meetings were relocated to the Shaw Auditorium until the new annex is completed in January.

In April, council resolved that committee of the whole meetings be recorded and posted on the Internet, but the annex is not equipped with recording equipment.

Regular council meetings at Shaw Auditorium are always televised and posted on the Internet. It will cost an estimated $90,000 to retrofit the annex with recording equipment, an expense Al Kenning, city manager, is not recommending in the 2013 budget.

In response, Coun. Fred Pattje has put forward a motion that all future committee of the whole meetings be held at the Shaw Auditorium and that the meetings continue to be recorded and put on the city website.

Gord Fuller, city watchdog, said continuing to post commitee of the whole meetings on the web will only benefit public engagement in city matters.

“A lot of delegations want to get their information out to the broader community and since we’ve decided to broadcast these meetings we’ve had six meetings taped and 24 delegations,” said Fuller. “Between 12 and 178 people are viewing the committee of the whole meetings online ... more and more people are starting to pay attention to city council meetings and I’m hoping we can continue to hold these meetings here at the Shaw Auditorium.”

For more information, or to view previous commitee and council meetings, please visit www.nanaimo.ca.

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