Bylaw number 1514 was passed by Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) board members, during an open meeting on Nov. 29, to ensure that the public and media can voice its concerns during an open question period at the end of each board meeting.
Earlier in November, an Area C citizen wrote a letter to the editorsher of the Trail Times, to address his concern about the possibility that the RDKB may want to disallow a question period or public input at its board meetings.
“All you are doing with not allowing speakers etc., is alienating people,” wrote Joe Tatangelo.
Tatangelo’s letter was in response to an article published in the Grand Forks Gazette on Nov. 8.
Chair of RDKB, Larry Gray, did rebut this “misunderstanding” on Nov. 20 in a letter to the Trail Times that said, members of the press or the public do have an opportunity to address the board on items on the agenda or to ask questions of the board, at the conclusion of meeting.
“As part of the discussion, a motion arose during the meeting to allow an undefined open-mike period at the onset of the meeting,” wrote Gray.
“This motion was defeated and the whole bylaw was referred back to committee for further recommendations to the board.”
The new bylaw is just “house-keeping” said Gray.
“Now, a question period at the end of each meeting is a formal thing.”
Before the bylaw, the open question period was only at the discretion of the board, according to Robert Cacchioni, RDKB board member.
Although Cacchioni wanted an open question period at the beginning of the meeting as well, the board turned that motion down.
“The board decided that they didn’t want one at the beginning of the meeting,” said Cacchioni.
“But here on out, the public or media can now have a question period at the end of each meeting.”
Gray opined that there was discussion about putting the question period at the start of the meeting, but then people may come to speak to issues of the agenda beforehand, and that creates a possibility of lobby groups coming, and so on.
“Some of the agendas are 450 pages or longer,” said Gray.
The RDKB was incorporated in 1966,and covers an 8,096 sq. km. area that is home to 30,742 residents.
For more information about the meetings, visit rdkb.com.