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15-minute question period discontinued at Parksville council meetings

Practice began with mayor’s term last November
The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)

The 15-minute question period for residents which temporarily preceded Parksville council meetings has been discontinued.

Mayor Doug O’Brien began the question period at the start of his term this past November, but found it was not serving its purpose of allowing an informal chance for residents to engage with council members.

Often nobody would show up at all, O’Brien said in an email to the PQB News, while other times people would use the period to forward their personal agenda or lobby for or against a particular issue.

“Occasionally the individuals would show up early to have the first spot on the question period list and would dominate the 15 minutes, therefore eliminating opportunities for others to speak,” he said.

Another challenge was when people would come prepared with a list of technical questions requiring staff expertise, however city staff are not in attendance for that purpose, O’Brien added.

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Detailed questions and their responses also frequently exceeded the 15-minute time limit and delayed the start of the regular council meeting, which council is mandated to maintain.

Residents can still communicate with the mayor and council via phone and email. The city’s website also provides a list of contact information for staff for technical inquiries.

“In retrospect, this allows all of us a better opportunity to respond accurately to questions since many responses would require some research and fact checking,” O’Brien said. “Instead of relying on our not always fulsome memory.”

The City of Parksville also receives communication through its public engagement website Let’s Talk Parksville.

For more information on how to get in touch with the city, visit its How to Engage webpage.

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Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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