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Didsbury council adds community engagement sessions before meetings

Members of the public asked for additional consultation opportunities with Didsbury council

DIDSBURY - Council has approved an initiative that will see community engagement sessions held immediately prior to regularly scheduled council meetings to give the public opportunities to speak with council members about issues and concerns.

Council approved the change by way of motion during the March 14 council meeting, held in person and on YouTube.

The half hour sessions will be held in council chambers from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Council meetings typically get underway at 6 p.m.

The engagement sessions are being offered after members of the public asked for additional consultation opportunities, council heard.

“There is interest from the public in having the opportunity to engage with council members on a variety of issues important to them,” chief administrative officer Ethan Gorner said in a briefing note to council.

“These sessions would not have a chairperson and would provide the opportunity for citizen engagement with individual council members.”

At least a few council members will be in attendance at each session, said mayor Rhonda Hunter.

“The feedback that we’ve got is that they (residents) want to engage with council,” said Hunter. “When we open these up it doesn’t mean that all councillors will be there. It means we will ensure that there are two or three councillors minimum and everyone will do their best to be there and the ones that can be there will be there. It will not be a requirement to be there.”

Deputy mayor Curt Engel said, “I looking forward to those discussions.”

The first engagement session will be held on April 11.

The gallery question periods typically held near the conclusion of regularly scheduled council meetings will continue.

Council carried a second motion calling for the council engagement process to be reviewed by the policy and governance committee, with any recommendations coming back to council at a future date.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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