EDITORIAL: Councillors would benefit from more meeting reports

The Northern Sentinel's editor weighs in on the need for more extensive council reports at meetings.

Corinne Scott zeroed in on a subject I’ve long quietly thought about, so I was entirely impressed when it came up at last week’s council meeting.

And that has to do with Council appointees to the town’s various sub-committees, or other groups that allow councillors a seat.

Here’s the situation; in an at-times hard to follow debate about the Kitimat Housing Committee last week, while councillors were in the midst of debating amending the group’s terms of reference and their current mandate, Scott brought up the fact that councillors should be providing fellow councillors reports from their attendance at

sub-committees.

As a refresher, because it’s actually something I at times forget, when a new council is sworn in, or around that time, the mayor will name council appointments to various sub-committees that deal with a particular mandate. That Housing Committee, for example was formed by council, and councillor Edwin Empinado is the primary council representative to that board.

Now, reporting to council on these does happen, but it feels infrequent. Scott, who, among other groups, is council’s representative to our regional district (obviously the RD is not a council committee, but communities get to appoint their representatives to them) has updated council  about the goings on there before.

And while it may have been awhile since I have seen Empinado make an actual report, I have seen him put forward motions that came out of discussions at the committee level.

But then there’s things like the Kitimat Health Advocacy Group, the Kitimat Literacy Program, the Interagency Committee, the Age Friendly Committee, and the Traffic Committee, all places councillors have a seat, but we rarely get the updates on what happens week to week or month to month.

(In fairness though, some of these don’t meet all that often. Also, I don’t personally see the public’s need to get reports from the Theatre Advisory Committee. My apologies for anyone offended by that.)

If you listen carefully you can hear councillors bring up ideas they’ve heard from these, but otherwise it’s hard to realize exactly what they’ve done.

And with sitting for two hours each Monday being a relatively small part of their job I’m sure, I bet others would back me in saying it’d be nice to hear more about what councillors have done and seen. It’s an effective way to gain context and understanding to the eventual decisions they have to make.

Cameron Orr