Castlegar City Council have changed the times for some of their meetings going forward in the new year. Currently, there are two regular council meetings a month at 7:00PM both of which have a Committee of the Whole meeting before hand at 1:30PM. The meeting on the first Monday of the month will now begin at 5:30PM with a Committee of the Whole session and then a regular council meeting will happen two weeks later starting at 7:00PM.

Councillor Florior Vassilikakis had some concerns in that there’s less meeting time to get things done, but says he’s willing to try it and see how things go.

“There’s three new councillors here and they were in favour of doing it and we were out voted and I said to myself, you know what, when Councillor Rye added that we would revisit with a six month window, that we’d have to bring it back to council for further discussion, I’m not adverse to trying things.”

He says no matter what time the meetings are it will be hard for people some community members to attend, but hopes that installing new video camera technology and a microphone system to web cast the meetings will help people become more engaged.  A Request for Proposals will be sent out for the new equipment and the cost will come back to council. $40,000 was included in the 5-year financial plan for 2019 to upgrade the camera system.

Former city councillor Deb McIntosh was present at Monday’s meeting and voiced her concerns about the meeting changes, which she feels makes council less accessible to the public. “I’m embarrassed for my colleagues that were there knowing how much work it is to get things done and moving things forward. There’s going to have to be a lot of special meetings called now. They’re called on a very short term and the community can’t engage in those, so I think it’s a disservice and I think they should revisit it.”

Mayor Bruno Tassone was in favour of trying out the new schedule. “Having the Committee of the Whole meetings start at a later time, so it starts at 5:30PM now, and trying to get the public involved and come to these meetings… and we’re going to try it for six months.”

The 2019 meeting schedule is as follows: