(File photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo changes start times of meetings

Directors find back-to-back meetings taxing

The Regional District of Nanaimo has changed the start time for the board and committee of the whole meetings.

The board meetings take place the last Tuesday of the each month at 7 p.m., while the COW meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. RDN staff recommended that both meetings start at 1 p.m.

General manager of corporate services, Delcy Wells, indicated in her report at the RDN board’s meeting on July 9 that the new time slot for the board would enable delegations to attend the meeting over the lunch hour and also allow people to attend who may have family commitments in the evening. Wells pointed out that other jurisdication hold scheduled meetings during the day.

Statistics collected from May 2019 to March 2020 showed that public attendance at the board, COW and Electoral Areas Services Committee meetings averaged eight people per meeting, with several instances where there is zero public attendance.

The Electoral Area Services Committee’s start time is also being adjusted to allow directors ample time to go through their whole agenda.

Currently, the EASC scheduled meetings are held on a Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. just before the 3 p.m. COW meetings. It was proposed that the EASC hold its meetings at 1 p.m. every first Thursday of every month.

Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) director Lehann Wallace made a motion to change the day of the EASC meetings as there were occasions the committee wasn’t able to deal with whole the agenda as they ran out of time.

READ MORE: TMI? Regional District of Nanaimo squashes motion to reduce agenda size to 350 pages

Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter said at the end of every EASC meeting she’s already “exhausted.”

“It’s a very, very long day,” said Salter. “Our last meeting was over 330 pages. I have read books that have less pages in them. And yet we’re preparing for that plus a second meeting in the COW with another 300 pages, plus in-camera.”

Salter added that they should be able to go through the agenda as the issues are deep and very important.

“We need to have all the time that we require to address them in a wholesome manner which we have not been able to do,” said Salter.

Wells explained that having the COW meeting start at 1 p.m. would allow meetings to be conducted during business hours. The current 3 p.m. time has resulted in several sessions going well into the evenings.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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