Nanaimo city councillors have agreed to move to eliminate committee of the whole meetings. (File photo)

Nanaimo city councillors to eliminate committee of the whole meetings

COW meetings would be replaced with new committee

Nanaimo councillors are doing away with committee of the whole meetings.

During a special council meeting on Jan. 14, city councillors voted unanimously in favour of having staff develop terms of reference for a brand new committee called Governance and Priorities Committee, which would eventually replace committee of the whole meetings. Staff have until March 1 to develop terms of reference for the new committee.

The Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC) would include all members of council, serve as an open forum for councillors and members of the public to have in-depth discussions on a few selected topics and recommendations made during meetings would be provided to council for consideration, according to Coun. Erin Hemmens, who brought forward the motion regarding the new committee.

“I would really like an opportunity where we have one or two issues on the table that are really pertinent that we really need to get into and it is not necessarily in this format where we all press our mics and so on,” Hemmens said. “I would just like to have a conversation and the space to have that.”

As a novice member of council, Hemmens said she had trouble distinguishing the differences between a committee of the whole meeting and a council meeting at first.

“I know there [are] some very clear distinctions. One is decision making, one is discussion, but for me that delineation wasn’t entirely clear and there were times during those committee of the whole meetings where I really expected a big long debate,” she said. “We didn’t get there and I think in many ways that is because we run our committee of the whole meetings very much like a council meeting.”

Hemmens, who sat on the city’s community engagement committee and the community vitality committee before becoming a councillor, said she wants members of the public to be able to participate in discussions at GPC meetings.

“It is intended to be an open forum and that we are allowed and welcome to invite members of the public for content,” she said.

Coun. Tyler Brown said he fully supported the new committee, calling it a “key first step” to replacing the city’s governance model.

While he was supportive of the motion, Coun. Ian Thorpe said he was felt it was “possibly premature” because councillors have already had discussions around potentially restructuring committees.

“I don’t think our committee of the whole is a whole lot different than what this purposed committee would look like,” he said. “So, I am willing to support it, I don’t disagree with the intent. I just think we are going there anyway and we will also be examining the functions of what has been our other city committees in the past.”

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong questioned whether councillors would be allowed to go in-camera during GPC meetings. However, staff explained that council has the ability to go in-camera for any committee. 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP hope public can help locate missing Nanaimo man

Gary Alexander Davidson, 54, has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 20

Nanaimo school district may combine demolition of Franklyn Street gym, career resource centre

Demolition of old career centre and library on Selby Street already out for tender

OPINION: Election no one wanted is an election like no other

It will be interesting to compare parties’ messaging on COVID-19 response and recovery

Protesters blockading log-sort operation at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo demands an end to all old-growth logging in B.C.

Nanaimo’s Jones will draw on her experiences in first political campaign

Retired social worker representing B.C. Liberals in Nanaimo riding in provincial election

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Horgan vows to replace B.C.’s shared senior care rooms in 10 years

$1.4 billion construction on top of staff raises, single-site work

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket to Vancouver Island again

Conditions expected to worsen Wednesday afternoon

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

Nanaimo city council wants more info about pilot project to lower residential speed limit

Staff will report back on ministry of transportation pilot that could lower speed limit to 40km/h

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read