Important changes to procedural By-law No. 2019-25:
On Aug 15, 2019 the coordinated committee voted 6-1 (Joe Belanger opposed) in favor of condensing the 15 minute comment period and 15 minute question period to 1—15 minute question/comment period. No comment or question period will be allowed prior to council votes on agenda items. Questions /comments will need to be submitted to the clerk up to 10 minutes before the beginning of the council meeting. The clerk will then decide whether the question/comment will be read or will be directed back to staff for response at a later date.
The WBRA does not, and cannot, endorse this thinly disguised “gag order”.
These amendments will give even greater powers to the Mayor and Councillors and further reduce the power of our Wasaga Beach Citizens. Our current sitting members of Council should treat this matter with extreme caution as Public Hearings are the next most important tool of democracy at the civil level. They allow the public to speak directly to Council, IN PERSON, ON RECORD and to provide information and opinions on critical decisions regarding developments, rezoning, and policies that affect the daily life of our Town and Citizens. Councillor Joe Belanger, Councillor Mark Kinney and Councillor David Foster all voiced their opinions on taking another look at what Staff recommended, however both Councillor Foster and Councillor Kinney failed to muster the courage of their convictions during the actual vote.
Why is this important to you?
Under the guise of “improving decorum at meetings”, council is actually trying to eliminate questions from the public, particularly those questions which may run contrary to our Mayor’s preconceived notions of what is best for Wasaga Beach. Questions, and the demand for answers, even those that may provoke disruption, are a cornerstone of the democratic process. Why? Because the government reports to the taxpayer. Not the other way around. To speak out by providing QUESTIONS and COMMENTS are our fundamental right under the "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom" in this Country and should not be taken lightly by members of Council and the Mayor, regardless of the disruption they may cause. WBRA Inc. members are encouraged to voice their displeasure at this decision. We urge all of you to get involved and send your request to keep the communication open between our Council and our citizens.
Please refer to our "How Do I: Ask a Question or Provide a Comment at a Meeting of Town Council?" page to understand the various levels of council meetings and interactions with the public.
What can I do?
As a taxpayer, you can write to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and members of council to express your displeasure at this move. Please refer to our "How Do I: Contact the Mayor or Councillors ?". Remind your elected representatives that this issue will carry weight during the next election.
Please see below the original bylaw (in black) and the strikeouts and new amendments (in red)