Regional District of Nanaimo agendas won’t be getting smaller anytime soon.
Leanne Salter, director for Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) provided notice of a motion at the June 23 board meeting, to reduce meeting agendas to a maximum of 350 pages. The July 29 meeting agenda had 665, and Salter argued that having that much information for directors to digest makes it hard to actually get a grasp on all of the motions and information at hand.
“When I looked up the average reader’s ability to get through pages – 1,000 pages takes 27.8 hours for an average reader and that’s reading at eight hours per day. That’s three-and-a-half days,” she said.
Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace said although she couldn’t agree with the motion because she said it would limit correspondence from the public, she does think there could be a way to condense reports and look for other ways to enhance readability.
Director Ben Geselbracht (Nanaimo) echoed Wallace, and said that although he empathizes with Salter’s reasons, he thinks making the agenda smaller would potentially eliminate important background information.
“A lot of the background information is minutes that we don’t have to read everything word by word and I would say that I’m not a very quick reader and reasonably informed on board matters,” he said. “And I think that there’s a strategy to make it through it.”
Parksville mayor and director Ed Mayne said he agreed with Salter in some ways, he couldn’t support putting a specific number cap on the pages.
“We can’t do justice to agendas of this size, there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” he said. “This is a much larger conversation.”
Ultimately, the motion was defeated.