A 65-page bylaw dealing with how Sylvan Lake council conducts its business received a rocky reception at the last meeting, primarily because councillors hadn’t had a chance to review it thoroughly.
The request was for first reading of the bylaw, something councillors eventually agreed to pass. However, one of the options presented was that they could request amendments before granting first reading.
One of the changes in the bylaw, though, stated “a proposed bylaw shall be introduced for first reading by a motion … Council shall vote on the motion … without amendment or debate”.
“This is an opportune time to do this (introduce changes),” said Chief Administrative Officer Betty Osmond, noting councillors are nearing the end of their three year term. “Changes are pretty standard, what most municipalities are doing now.”
Then Mayor Susan Samson opened the floor to discussion, noting “we haven’t been following this (non-debate at first reading) for the past three years, so why start tonight”.
Councillor Laverne Asselstine stated he didn’t agree with tightening the “informality of bringing an item to council” and committee of the whole procedures.
“They’ve been formalized. Before it was an informal procedure.”
“I think the whole procedure has to change,” said Councillor Dale Plante. “We’re given this at 4 p.m. on Friday and asked to comment a day and a half later. I’m okay with first reading, but it’s not adequate time at all to review it.”
Councillor Graham Parsons agreed.
Samson noted that in the procedure bylaw one of the very few tasks the mayor has is to chair the meeting.
The bylaw was unanimously passed at first reading and will be back on the agenda at the next council meeting Monday night.