A new year means new timing for regular council and committee meetings Oak Bay.
Monday night meetings will start an hour earlier than traditionally, shifting to 6 p.m. after a council discussion Dec. 13, though not all were on board with the change.
Coun. Andrew Appleton was opposed, seeing it as an obstacle for some residents.
“It is, for me, an issue of accessibility for the greater public and for people who wish to run for council,” he said. Coun. Ester Paterson also opposed the motion.
Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted that meetings now start at 7 p.m. and frequently extend beyond 10 p.m., with residents in attendance.
Oak Bay numbers show that as of Nov. 22, 18 of the 33 open meetings went beyond three hours, adjourning between 10 and 11 p.m. Staff suggested an earlier start time could create a more sustainable buffer between the end of a meeting work day and beginning of the next work day for council, staff and the public.
In 2021, council held 28 in-camera meetings through the end of November, leading staff to suggest they are regular recurring meetings and could be included on the annual meeting schedule. Council agreed to add the in-camera, or closed, meetings to the schedule for the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 5:15 p.m. with none in August or December, or in a month when municipal elections happen.
General local elections in B.C. take place every four years on the third Saturday in October. The next municipal election is Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. The inaugural Oak Bay council meeting is Nov. 7, 2022.