Council reviewing presentation policy

Move aims to minimize late delegations and clarify topics

Mission council will be reviewing its policy for delegations after a couple of recent presentations troubled some politicians.

Coun. Jenny Stevens says she is increasingly concerned about last-minute presentations appearing before a meeting.

In the most recent example, Kim Walker tried to convince council to rename Silverdale Park to Fujikawa Park after her grandparents.

People should only be permitted to appear at the last minute when something has come out of the blue they feel strongly about, said Stevens, who noted Walker has been working with district staff for close to a year and she could have applied to be a delegation at any time, but she chose Dec. 2 at the last minute because the issue was on the night’s agenda.

Council votes before each meeting to allow late delegations, and Stevens, who wanted to make a point, was the only one to vote against allowing Walker to speak before council.

Since September, there have been five late delegations before council. Each delegation is given 10 minutes to speak to council, and late presenters are allowed five minutes. However, many times that limit is exceeded, and often councillors also offer comments or ask questions.

Coun. Dave Hensman also wanted to clarify the parameters surrounding topics on which people can present.

“Can someone just come and present whatever they want?” he asked. “I would think it has to be something under the municipal mandate to deal with.”

Hensman’s request would “weed out” some presenters, such as the Dec. 2 delegation asking council to sign the Charter for Compassion to symbolize the way of life for the community.

Presenter Artur Gryz explained the move would create an identity for the town, create better relationships among residents, and make Mission memorable. There would also be opportunities for tourism and investment.

While all councillors said the principle was worthy, most didn’t support a motion to have staff look into the issue.

“I don’t know why we would rely on staff for a report of this nature,” commented Coun. Larry Nundal. “It’s not technical … but I feel it’s a waste of staff time.”

You can’t make people compassionate by signing the charter, he said.

Compassion comes from the heart and it will be difficult to label a community that way, said Coun. Tony Luck.

Coun. Jenny Stevens said there is a lot of compassion in Mission already.

“I experience compassion in this community every day of my life.”

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