City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

City of Fernie city hall. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie updates procedure bylaw

The public have a chance to speak to council earlier during meetings

The City of Fernie has adopted an updated council procedure bylaw as of August 22.

The updated bylaw includes changes from the bylaw originally adopted in November last year, with the ‘public participation period’ moved from the end of open council meetings closer to the beginning, after councillors expressed concern about the timing of when the public were permitted to speak about agenda items consider the run-time of council meetings can occasionally go over two hours.

Councillors had asked for the public participation period to be moved up against the advice of the corporate officer, who wrote in a report in August that “while the experience in Fernie has not been one where the Council agenda has been sidetracked by the Public Participation Period, the opportunity to do so is increased if the public participation is held prior to the deliberation of the business on the council agenda.”

Other changes included the removal of councillor reports from Committee of the Whole meetings, clarification on what members of the public can address council on (only items on the agenda, and not items that are subject to public hearings later in the agenda), and additional verbiage on the powers of the corporate officer to allow delegates to appear on the agenda at all.

Mayor Ange Qualizza said the procedure bylaw was important for ensuring clarity in decision making by the council.

“It sounds silly but it’s going to be one of the most important things we did in this term,” she said.

Councillors unanimously approved the changes.

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Municipal Government