Changes coming to council meetings, committees

Abbotsford's new city council attempts to streamline the process

Henry Braun

Abbotsford’s new city council has introduced changes to meetings, both for the council and city committees, aimed at streamlining the process and increasing discussion.

Council approved plans to reduce the number of advisory committees – often composed of councillors, city staff and community representatives – from 20 to eight.

Mayor Henry Braun said the new committees will still cover the same mandates as the previous ones, but the new structure is more efficient, freeing up the time of staff and council to do other work.

He said in some cases the new committees eliminate overlaps. The city previously had separate committees to cover agriculture, Matsqui diking and the Sumas diking commission, which are now combined into one.

“The notion of the two diking commissions is pre-amalgamation. This is 19 years later, I think we need to wrap some of this up and finish those amalgamations that haven’t taken place yet.”

The new committees cover agriculture, diking, drainage and irrigation; development; homelessness; intergovernmental affairs; shared services; parks, recreation and culture; public safety; and transportation.

At the council meeting on Monday, city manager George Murray said environmental sustainability and creating a vibrant economy will be built into all council policies, and will therefore be an “overarching belief of council throughout all committees.”

The 2015 schedule for council will also include a new public meeting. Council meets every second Monday, but now on the alternate weeks council will meet for a “shirt-sleeves session.”

Braun said the meetings will be open to the public and will be more informal, providing an opportunity for a more robust discussion of issues before they come to council.

He said in the past, councillors often wouldn’t know the thoughts and opinions of their colleagues until the issue was at the table.

Now they will have that same discussion in open session, and can hear from one another so when the issue comes forward they have a better understanding, he said.

Braun said that doesn’t mean decisions will already be made by the time they come to council. At regular meetings, he will encourage councillors to ask questions for their benefit and the publics, as well as express their opinions.

He said when there is no discussion at council “the public wonders whether we’ve made the decision behind closed doors – which isn’t true.”

Just Posted

Langley artists lauded by country music industry

BC Country Music Association held its 42nd awards Sunday, co-hosted by Langley’s Karen Lee Batten.

Langley City Boxing wins fight to continue Clash series

The Langley City Boxing club and Coast Convention management met an agreement to continue Clash

Langley Fastball Association wins Association of the Year

Award at SoftballBC Awards Gala in Kamloops

Langley rollover crash slows traffic on 200 Street in Willoughby

Crews called to Monday afternoon collision involving two cars

VIDEO: Langley BMX racers propel pumpkins down their track

Once the standard race day was over, riders let a series of gourds roll down their Brookswood track.

‘She’s charging. Oh God’: Mama grizzly runs at B.C. man armed with shotgun

People online were quick to question – and defend – a man’s decision to shoot a grizzly bear charging him on a Bella Coola front yard

Red Sox beat Dodgers 8-4 in Game 1 of World Series

Benintendi has 4 hits as Boston cruises at Fenway

Lower Mainland boy has bike and prosthetic arm stolen

Bike has been recovered, but arm still missing

Canada announces $20M fund for women entrepreneurs

New federal program will provide up to $100,000 for female business owners to grow their operations

Vancouver Island man claims falling ice smashed his truck windshield

Man discovered volleyball-sized chunk ice on his truck Saturday, near Nanaimo, B.C.

B.C. veteran combats PTSD in the ring and on the farm

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

B.C. vegan butcher to appear on Dragons’ Den

Victoria’s Very Good Butchers will star in Nov. 29 episode

Vancouver mom creates screen-free kids’ entertainment

Luna Cheng, who grew up in Langley, is one of the creators of BoredBox.

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Most Read