Generally, there is a formal monthly meeting structure where members of the tax paying public can attend:
- Coordinated Committee
- Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.)
- Council Meeting
The descriptions below include the meeting schedules, but often a meeting will be added or changed, so best to check Town website for calendar: https://www.wasagabeach.com/meeting-calendar
Agendas for these meetings are posted, the week of the particular meeting, on Mondays by 9:00 a.m. and information items supporting the agenda are also available for review: https://www.wasagabeach.com/Pages/Agendas-and-Reports.aspx
The Coordinated Committee of the Council was introduced in January 2016 and is a meeting structure that is comprised of the former Standing Committee sections of:
- Community Services
- Public Works
- Development Services
- General Government
The new Coordinated Committee generally meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. in the Classroom at Town Hall .
While votes by Council takes place at these meetings there is no opportunity for the public to ask questions or comment. The public can only observe and listen to the discussion and the voting by Council.
COMMITTEE OF WHOLE (C.O.W.):
The C.O.W. generally meets at the Call of the Chair at 4:00 p.m. in the Classroom at Town Hall unless otherwise noted. As stated, this meeting takes place on an “as needed basis” and has been quite frequent in 2019.
Again, voting by Council takes place during this meeting but there is no opportunity for the public to ask questions or comment.
Council meetings are generally held on the 4thTuesday at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Town Administration Office 30 Lewis Street, Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
The agenda for these Council Meetings are derived from the Committee of the Whole and Coordinated Committee meetings held during the month. Other items may appear on the agenda for Council to vote on at this meeting.
Until now, the public has enjoyed two opportunities to speak at these meetings:
- At the beginning of the meeting during a 15-minute Comment Period, whereupon taxpayers can make a comment restricted to any item on the agenda (except for any Integrity Commissioner issue) but cannot ask a question.
- A second opportunity exists near the end of the agenda during the 15-minute Question Period. Again, the questions are restricted to agenda items only.
Effects of "Gag Order":
However, during the recent Coordinated Committee in August Council has voted to reduce the public speaking opportunity to one single 15-minute Comment/Question Period at the beginning of the Council Meeting.
- WBRA believes taxpayers need to be listened to much more, not much less, at Council public meeting!
In addition, taxpayers who wish to speak will now be required to sign up no less than 10 minutes in advance of meeting start time with their name, address and agenda item number. The Town Clerk will then decide whether the question/comment will be included or will be directed back to staff for response at a later date.
- WBRA believes this process, whereby the Town staff are given the power to decide which taxpayers will be given an opportunity to speak publicly, on record, is very disconcerting, controlling and undemocratic.
Coordinated Committee and Committee of the Whole meetings represent the opportunity for Council to vote on key decisions for our Town.
- WBRA believes these meetings should be much more open to the tax-paying public and allow for questions and comments before any voting takes place by Council.
This would be a valuable way to demonstrate transparency and public engagement by the Council who work for us, the taxpayers of Wasaga Beach.