City council would consider eliminating question period

During the Nov. 13 city council meeting’s question period, Mr. James Kostuchuk asked Mayor Ferris if council would consider eliminating question period due to ‘grandstanding’ by the public.

Mayor Ferris answered ‘yes, they would’.  To see his question and Mayor Ferris’s reply, you can watch the video on the city’s YouTube channel (1:16:46).

Having attended many council meetings, I haven’t observed ‘grandstanding’.  However, there have been many questions asked about topics that I am sure the mayor would prefer the public not be made aware of.  I have asked some of them.

What type of questions have I asked?:

  • Why is the City raising the Herman Prior Centre’s rent from $1 to $21,000 when it’s a well-used facility?;
  • Why is the City raising the Library’s rent by $10,000 over the next 5 years when it’s an essential facility? They also previously cut their contributions by $17,000/year;
  • I asked for Council’s clarification that the most-recent court hearing for the Stride Place roof replacement was actually to determine if the City could proceed with a lawsuit after the 6-year statute of limitations has passed. A lawsuit has not actually started.

Another citizen has asked several times if citizens could put forward their names to sit on city committees.  The mayor’s answer has always been ‘NO’, the city chooses the members.  Kostuchuk is the only citizen appointed to more than one board/committee this year, out of 26 appointees.

As Kostuchuk said that this was his first time asking a question in question period, I view his request to eliminate question period and the mayor’s support as suspect.  As a past candidate for local MLA, does he also believe that question period in the Legislature should be eliminated?

This is not how our council should behave in a democracy!

Luanne Anderson

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