By Trevor Busch
The possibility of altering the time of town council meetings to early afternoon advocated by Mayor Henk DeVlieger died on the order papers after the rest of council refused to support a motion.
During the council requests portion of the Nov. 28 regular meeting of council, DeVlieger brought forward the idea which suggested changing town council meetings from their traditional 5 p.m. start to the early afternoon.
“I have an item that I wouldn’t mind discussing sometime in the near future, and that’s in regards to council meetings themselves, the time. We always start — and it’s for a reason — after work, 5 p.m. I wouldn’t mind if we have a discussion to see if that might be maybe 1 p.m.”
DeVlieger suggested that with meetings often extending into late evening hours, weighing the minutia of each decision and poring over important details can be exhausting work for elected officials.
“The reason I’m asking is we all go for a day’s work, and then we come at 5 p.m. half tired already, and then we have to make lots of decisions that are mostly important for the community, and by the time it hits 7, 8, 9 p.m., you’re very tired. I would just like to discuss that in one of the future council meetings as an agenda item.”
Town council meetings are usually held in the evening in smaller municipalities in the province in order to accommodate the schedule of elected officials who are often employed in other occupations during regular daytime hours.
In neighbouring municipalities, most regular council meetings are also held in the evening, such as the Town of Vauxhall (6 p.m. start time), or Village of Barnwell (6 p.m. start time).
The notable exception is the M.D. of Taber, which holds council meetings during the day on Tuesdays (10 a.m. start time).
Finance director and acting CAO Devon Wannop pointed out that a motion from another councillor would be required before the issue could be officially brought to a future meeting for discussion.
“Yes, someone should make a motion on your behalf for that.”
While obviously anticipating a more positive response, DeVlieger was met by silence from the rest of council when he called for a motion to be brought forward.
“Anybody wants to make that motion? If not, then it’s off the table.”