The times they are a changin' for city council, literally.
Starting next week, city council will be meeting for the executive committee in the afternoon, with the regular city council meeting to follow at its normal time of 5:30 p.m.
Currently, city council meetings begin at 5:30 with the executive committee meeting to follow. Another change is that council will hear public delegations right at 5:30 instead of having them wait until the end of the meeting.
In-camera agenda items will be pushed earlier into the afternoon, with times varying depending on the number of agenda items and public agenda items will take place at 4 p.m.
“I think for everybody involved, the citizens watching us, as counselors, the media who's in the room, that if there's an opportunity that we're not here late into the evening when we've done a whole full six hours or something that it would just give us a little bit of time in between those meetings executive in the afternoon,” said Coun. Dawn Luhning.
Coun. Heather Eby did vote in favour of moving the meetings but did question whether it would be any longer of a day.
"To me, it's not always about the time of day that we start getting tired. It's about the length of a meeting,” Eby said.
“Even if we start at 2 and we have a six- or seven-hour meeting, I've heard it said before you don't really make really good decisions after three or four hours anyway. So, I'm always been more concerned with the stacking of meetings, especially when agendas are long.”
Coun. Kim Robinson said he works out of time, so if meetings started at 2 p.m. it could be pushing it, but he was willing to give it a try. Coun. Jamey Logan said he was indifferent and was OK with whatever the majority decided.
Coun. Blanc, who is retired, was in favour of moving council times around.
“I know personally from past experiences I had a lot of late, late, late meeting, sometimes well into the night. You're better off having it during the day. You're fresher and I think it's a better process.”
City manager Jim Puffalt said having delegates speaking at the very beginning of council meetings is also good customer service.
“We’ll sit here until midnight, done it many a time, and it's not an issue for us,” Puffalt said.
“But certainly, people coming to a council meeting, it's hard for them to sit there for three or four hours and try and figure out when their chance is going to come. Quite honestly, we actually had a miss last year. We missed people that wanted to speak and we didn't give them a good chance.”
City council meetings and the public portion of the executive committee meetings will continue to be streamed live on the city’s website.