Annotated Notes from November 14 council meeting

Detailed notes on the proceedings of the 14 November 2017 council meeting are available at the following link and also on the Our Town Facebook Group page. Please read them because there is information here that will not be made public in the formal minutes, nor in N&V

Notes-20171114-B

The following thoughts are appended for consideration:

  1.  It was very good that the meeting was held outside the town hall and with the council all facing the audience. Many residents have been asking for this and we hope it will continue. It is symbolic, but facing the residents shows respect that was not so evident in the past with backs turned to the public.
  2. The mayor said (paraphrased) “Voters have rejected the politics of division and voted for harmony”. It seems that this has always been the case and that any division evident in the former council was no more than normal differences of opinion between councillors representing those who had elected them. Differences of opinion at the council table are a sign of healthy debate and the democratic process.
  3. In the discussion about high staff turnover the mayor commented that (paraphrased) “… the town hall buildings are not “up to code” and will soon be improved.” We wonder if this is a veiled reference to the possible return of the project to extend and develop the town hall at an estimated costs of some $2M. We will watch developments with interest.
  4. In response to a tabled letter from a resident about improving the town website and communications the official response was that the council have heard the concerns expressed about this but implementation depends on allocation of resources. Well, that may be the case up to a point but there are PLENTY of residents in the town with the requisite skills to develop solutions and do it voluntarily at minimal or no cost to the town’s budget. After all, it is partly because the town has not done anything about this in the past years that this website and the Our Town Facebook Group were created in the first place … and they cost the town nothing.  Come on Baie-D’Urfé – participatory democracy requires an well informed citizenry to work.
  5. A member of the Our Town Facebook group earlier today made the following valid (selected) points that we think are worthy of consideration:

– We could have a system where we vote for all the seats as at present but have a go-to person in our area – districts with their councillors. Or we could have councillors with distinct portfolios. By the looks of it we have a mayor who will get her way.
– (there was) no mention of transparency or citizen involvement last night
– Better communication is tied to spending more money? Really – sending out an email or post on the town website needs more staff/staff hours?

2 thoughts on “Annotated Notes from November 14 council meeting”

  1. I am so sorry that the writer is ready to jump all over the mayor and new councillors one week after the election, before they have had a chance to plan as a team, and begin to work on their budget.

    I found the tone of last night’s first meeting to be refreshing and hopeful. At every meeting of the former council there were councillors who would predictably vote against everything….including the adoption of minutes of the previous meeting! It is a relief to have friendly collaboration and compromise.

    About the possible expansion of the town hall, I would be thrilled to see this happen. At the moment our administration and staff are squashed into cramped quarters. Plans can be modified and budget carefully considered.

    Please be open to change and patient with those who have been duly elected to serve our very precious town. I believe I am so fortunate to live in Baie D’Urfe.

    1. Hi Susan, thanks for your comments. I am sorry you feel we are not “… open to change and patient with those who have been duly elected to serve our very precious town.” Like you, I too “believe I am so fortunate to live in Baie D’Urfe.”

      Nevertheless, I think the thoughts expressed in the post are valid. The new council – who do not have an easy task ahead of them – have been elected to represent the views and needs of all the residents of the town. Even those who did not necessarily vote for all of them en bloc. It is very important that they start on day one by reaching out and listening to what we have to say. They don’t have to agree, but they do need to clearly tell us all why they have chosen any one given policy option and rejected others. As the mayor said at that meeting, they can’t please everyone. That’s a given, but they must know what a large proportion of the people here are thinking. Participatory Democracy is important – citizen concern and involvement doesn’t, in fact must not, stop at the end of election day. I think we all share the same concerns, just differ on some points as to how we get from here to there while agreeing fully on others.

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