City of Nanaimo re-adjusts question period policy

Residents will no longer be required to submit their questions in writing

The city will again alter its procedures for question period at city council meetings.

The City of Nanaimo announced Friday that it will no longer require that citizens write down their questions for approval before asking them aloud.

Residents will now only need to provide their name and the agenda item to which their question relates.

“We want to make sure all residents are able to participate in question period. Given recent feedback, we felt it necessary to make some changes,” said Sheila Gurrie, city clerk, in a press release.

The release noted that the decision came after feedback from residents and councillors.

At a Dec. 18 council meeting at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, a resident suggested the city’s question period policy was discriminatory to people with lower literacy levels.

“When we consider access to our democratic process and governance with a community like ours, when we’re looking at accessibility, we constantly think of a person in a wheelchair … there are many other issues that prevent accessibility in the democratic process,” said Mayor Bill McKay.

Moving forward, a sign-up sheet for question period will be available during city council and committee of the whole meetings and staff members will be able to offer assistance.

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