Definition of delegation stirs debate for Saanich council

Council debates the effectiveness of the new 10-minute delegation opportunity for representatives of organizations to speak to council

When 11-year-old Gordon Head resident Jillian McCue approached Saanich as a delegation regarding the allowance of backyard goats in May, council referred her to the advisory committees.

But when Livinia Rojas presented as a delegation about putting deer-friendly plant species in Mount Douglas Park, council was mum. Yet when David Poje twice presented as a delegation, regarding the tree cutting on Watkins Way and the parking ban on Glendenning Road, it stirred council debate and a direction to staff to prepare a report on the latter.

On Monday, council debated the effectiveness of the new 10-minute delegation opportunity for representatives of organizations to speak to council.

The debate lasted nearly an hour and will come back to council in a 2016 report with greater detail.

“Certainly our delegations are starting to slip to what the mayor says is more appropriate for an open forum,” said Coun. Vic Derman.

Coun. Colin Plant suggested delegations be limited to two or more people but Coun. Susan Brice made the argument that if the Red Cross (for example) was to send one person to represent them at council, that is in fact the definition of a delegate.

“I’ve been traditionally critical of committees, that they don’t forward things to council, and I think it’s important to make sure council can hear these things,” said Mayor Richard Atwell. “But the basic problem is people are coming and asking things to be done, and it hasn’t gone through an advisory committee.”

Council adopted some other changes with the public input. The monthly open forum has been moved to the beginning of council, following multiple situations where residents waited through four hours of council to bring forward their issue.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com