Summerland to examine municipal council transparency

Notice of motion asks for details about open and closed meetings

Doug Holmes

A Summerland municipal councillor has introduced a notice of motion asking for a review of the process of preparing council agendas.

At the July 13 council meeting, Coun. Doug Holmes introduced the notice of motion.

The proposed resolution calls on municipal staff to report back to a future meeting on the process of preparing the council agendas.

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Summerland’s municipal council meets on the second and fourth Monday of the month, or on the Tuesday if the Monday is a statutory holiday.

Holmes brought forward his notice of motion in part because of concerns raised over a previous in-camera meeting of council.

Under provincial legislation, council meetings can be closed to the public to discuss land, labour or legal matters.

“We trust the process to ensure that what needs to be discussed in a closed meeting is discussed in a closed meeting, and what needs to be discussed in an open meeting is discussed in an open meeting,” Holmes said.

However, concerns have been raised about a meeting in late February 2019, when council discussed an item related to the proposed solar and storage project in a closed meeting rather than an open meeting.

“We need to reassure the public that council makes its decisions in an open and transparent manner,” Holmes said.

“Therefore, to understand how an item that should have been discussed in an open meeting could have ended up on a closed meeting agenda, we first need to know how our agendas are made.”

Holmes is asking for the process used to create the council agenda, how the information is collected, how it is determined whether an item is in an open or closed meeting and how an agenda accommodates items where part of the item should be discussed openly and part should be in a closed meeting.

Holmes’s motion will be considered at a future Summerland council meeting.

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