Mayor Bruno Tassone started off Monday’s council meeting with an apology.

“We had an unfortunate incident at the last council meeting during the public question period when a member of the public made inappropriate comments.  So, on behalf of myself and council we apologize for not stopping these comments right away. We as council are inclusive and respectful to all,” said Mayor Tassone.

Some councillors felt homophobic comments were made during question period on April 1, which arose after council discussed when to repaint the rainbow crosswalk in downtown Castlegar. There were also comments made about the homeless and both were unaddressed at the time.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff voiced her feelings on Facebook the following day: “Not one of us on council or our staff intervened to tell him to sit down and be quite – and for that I sincerely apologize.”

She also introduced a notice of motion at Monday’s meeting that looks to put some procedures and protocols in place around question period. She says in some municipalities people have to submit their questions in advance for approval. She doesn’t want it go that far, but has asked that staff research what other municipalities are doing and make recommendations.

“Question period has become a huge conflict in a lot of councils because people are inappropriate. They get up there and preach whatever they believe in.”

Councillor Heaton-Sherstobitoff only read the notice of motion this week. Council will have to choose whether to support it at the next meeting and then staff will be asked to come back with recommendations.

Mayor Tassone also stated that from now on, if council feels comments or questions are inappropriate, the person will be asked to step away from the microphone. He stated that “question period is an opportunity for the public to ask questions of council about items ideally discussed about the current meeting. These questions and/or comments will be appropriate and respectful.”

Tassone says he will be available after the meeting to discuss things one on one. Anyone with questions or comments not related to the current meeting can make arrangements with staff or council afterwards.