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Wellington North incorporates new open forum into meetings

by Mike Robinson

KENILWORTH - Wellington North will now offer an “open forum” at the first council meeting of each month.

On March 11, councillors quickly endorsed the concept now included in a revised procedural bylaw.

Mayor Andy Lennox thanked councillor Dan Yake for the idea.

“What I am proposing is that within our procedural bylaw, this would allow a session once per month as an open forum discussion on larger ideas and larger issues,” said Yake.

Lennox said there are numerous larger issues affecting the community, in which council might want to consider what role it plays.

“But we don’t really have a good forum to do so (at present),” he noted.

The new open forums would not necessarily require a decision that night, but offer an opportunity to share ideas.

Lennox anticipates discussions lasting 30 to 45 minutes. He added the forums can cover topics of municipal and/or community importance.

The mayor, in consultation with councillors, would choose the topic, “typically a broad, impactful issue to generate discussion on township direction or policy options.”

If council wished to take further action following the discussions, the matter could be directed to staff for a report and recommendation.

Councillor Steve McCabe said the new format is a great way to get some information out there.

“So what’s the first one?” he asked.

Yake said topics will be decided amongst councillors  and explained, “I just felt there are a lot of topics we don’t get a chance to share or discuss.”

Yake said regardless of the outcome, “we’ve at least had a chance to discuss [the topics].”

Lennox suggested one issue might be affordable housing.

“The idea is for the forum to be open ... several topics have already been put forward,” he said.

Other topics could include community safety, rural broadband and mental health.

Lennox said he thinks it will e easy to find issues  for the rest of the year, “We’ll just see how it goes.”

Councillors endorsed the recommendation to  include an open forum discussion in the township’s procedural bylaw.

March 13, 2019

 
 

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