Penticton city council will meet three fewer times this year

Council cut three meetings

Penticton city council will have three fewer meeting this year, which the city says will make more time for committee meetings that are open to the public to attendance and participation.

In 2020, council will now meet just once in February, August and December, a departure from the usual two-per-month standard.

The new schedule was approved at a regular open council meeting in December, but February is the first month that is affected by the change.

On Tuesday, which would normally have seen a council meeting, the council chamber was used for a Community Sustainability Advisory Committee meeting. 

"And what you see is a packed audience and a pretty involved dozen community members debating electrical generation and climate change emergencies for two hours that would otherwise not occur at council meetings," said chief administrative officer Donny van Dyk. 

The city has eight active committees focusing on a range of topics from safety and security to agriculture which plan to meet 100 times in 2020, all of which are open to the public. 

Each committee meeting features various city staff members discussing the matter at hand, and time allotted for public feedback.

At least one council member is mandated to attend, though more can if they wish. At Tuesday's meeting, mayor John Vassilaki sat in for the committee's appointed council member Julius Bloomfield. 

Van Dyk said he is hopeful this will be a boon to public engagement. 

"It's allowing council to take that very thorough discussion, distill it down in a report to council near the beginning of every regular council meeting."

The schedule change means that council members are required at 21 meetings as opposed to 24 this year. 

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