City mulls resident advisors

Parksville council wants to garner advice from locals with community knowledge

Parksville council asked staff to bring back a proposal for a council advisory committee to help guide them on some of the bigger or trickier issues.

Council has been looking at verious ways to be as open and community responsive as they can, mayor Chris Burger said, so at their regular May 7 meeting they asked staff for information on establishing an advisory group of resident volunteers.

Burger said councillor Sue Powell brought forward the motion, though he was already in favour, wanting to “take advantage of the huge intellectual infrastructure here  …”

He pointed out it is not a new idea, including in Parksville where previous mayor Ed Mayne set up a “blue ribbon panel” to advise on big issues and Sandy Herle established an advisory council that didn’t last.

Burger said it is a matter of finding the right format for dedicated citizens to have input and make recommendations, with all decisions still going through council, similar to the existing Advisory Design Panel and Advisory Planning Commissions that review projects before council.

He suggested it could be particularly useful for delicate issues like the recent council stipend increase and big controversial projects.

Staff will report back to council with some options, possibly as soon as the newly added May 28 council meeting.