Councillors have said that they are better able to take in information and make decisions during the day. They have stated that daytime meetings save money as municipal staff can be on hand during regular office hours. But a number of island residents have come forward to express concern that many people who hold a job are not able to attend.
At the council meeting on Monday, January 23, Peter Williamson said, "I am speaking on behalf of Tamsin Miley to express concern about the accessibility to council meetings." He said that the change to daytime council meetings will not only prevent Miley from attending but she also knows of several commuters who are in the same situation. Miley suggested that if council persists in holding daytime meetings, those meeting should be videotaped.
Melissa Harrison echoed those sentiments. She said, "It is obvious that many people can't attend daytime meetings. People can come to special meetings but some of the issues that come before council are ongoing and it is expensive for people to take time out from work." Harrison added that some of the goals council has set out to accomplish are controversial and recommended that council revisit the decision about daytime meetings in three months. She also suggested that the recording and transmitting of the meetings should be included in the budget.
Councillor Tim Rhodes said, "It is my understanding that we are trying [daytime meetings] out for a while and see how they work. I'm also in favour of recording the meetings." Councillor Andrew Stone said, "I agree. We were planning to review this decision in three to six months and then make a decision." Councillor Wolfgang Duntz added that council had made the commitment to schedule evening meetings for subjects with considerable public concern, for instance decisions that deal with land use legislation.
Municipal corporate officer Kathy Lalonde gave the example of a meeting that is scheduled for February 20 at 7 p.m. She also drew attention to three letters about the issue that were received by council.
Councillor Cro Lucas said, "We had pretty good turnouts during the daytime. The fact is that having meetings during daytime gives us the option of extending a meeting if we need to." Only councillor Alison Morse voted against giving second and third reading to the municipal procedure bylaw that affects meeting times.