RDN board approves new start time for COW meetings

But directors vote to retain 7 pm board meetings

Starting September 1, the Regional District of Nanaimo will begin its committee of the whole (COW) meetings at 3 p.m.

Currently, COW meetings start at 7 p.m.

However, a separate recommendation to start board meetings at 4 p.m. did not pass.

The board at Tuesday night’s meeting, June 27, debated the proposed new schedule at length and was very divided on the issue.

Some directors expressed strong opposition to starting the meetings early and during working hours. They said it would not increase public attendance and would make it difficult for people who want to appear as a delegation, as most of them work and would have to take time off.

A compromise was suggested. The board voted for COW meetings to start at 3 p.m. commencing September 1 but the time for board meetings will remain unchanged.

Aside from these two procedural issues the board also dealt with seven other recommendations made by the Executive Committee, which recently reviewed advisory committees, commissions and external organizations to which board members are appointed.

The board passed the elimination of the Sustainability Select Committee and refer all of its matters to the committee of the whole. It also endorsed an amendment to the terms of reference for the Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Technical Advisory Committee to indicate that the committee will “provide recommendations to the board through the COW.”

The Emergency Management Select Committee is being dissolved as well, and all matters will be dealt with by the Electoral Area Services Committee.

In camera matters would only be considered by a commission or an advisory body when referred to that body by the board.

Web streaming meetings will be considered for inclusion in the 2018 Operational Plan and Budget.

Staff has been directed to draft the necessary amendments to the board procedural by law to reflect the changes.

The one item that was deferred was a recommendation to dissolve the Fire Services Advisory Committee and all matters be handled by the Electoral Areas Services Committee. Some directors felt not enough consultation was done and would like to discuss this issue further with the committe and Fire Department Society.