Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's Happening At City Hall Today?

I attended my first meeting in the Council Building at City Hall today. It was the Lord Selkirk - West Kildonan Community Committee meeting. The meeting was run with Councillor Pagtakhan as chair. Councillors Eadie and Sharma were also in attendance, along with the clerk, a representative from Public Works and one from Planning, Property and Development.
During the regular session of the meeting there were eight items to be discussed. Of those, seven were passed, denied, or adjourned in the blink of an eye. I could hardly keep up. I guess one has to read the reports prior to attending, because nothing was being said at the meeting. A single line was read off the Agenda and decisions were made.
The eighth item actually had a fair bit of discussion surrounding it. A couple of concerned citizens were present as Delegates, and spoke at the beginning of the meeting. They had concerns about parking around one particular business on Main Street. The business owner had an opportunity to speak, and disputed the claims later in the meeting.
When the Parking and Safety Concerns issue was brought up, Councillor Sharma made some recommendations regarding the issue. There seemed to be discussion between the clerk and Councillors on proper process for making recommendations. Bottom line, it was going to the parking authority for them to decide if it was getting approved. Or I think that's what they decided. More to the point, I think I was witness to Councillors in training making important decisons that matter to businesses and residences.
Then the public hearings were held, and they were just that. They were public. Each item was discussed, presentation boards were used, and information was distributed to the Councillors. The Councillors then recommended for or against the request, or adjourned it for a later time.
What I want to know is why the parking concern was part of the regular meeting, and not a public hearing. Is it because the parking concern was a complaint requesting change, and the public hearings were requests for change? If the business in question wanted to change the parking signs would they be presenting their case in the public hearings instead?
And if I wanted my back lane to be zoned for a land fill, could I request my case in the public hearings?

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