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Council members vote to change council, committee schedule

Changes are coming to the way Grande Prairie city council and committee meetings are run. Council members have approved moving meetings to 3 p.m. every other Monday. Mayor Bill Given says the change was made for two reasons.

“The idea is that more staff would be available to support council during the working day without the city having to pay overtime to have those staff there and to essentially ensure that council meetings don’t go as late into the evening.”

Council meetings used to be held every other Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. with the city’s two committee meetings taking place on alternating Tuesdays.

Starting on May 14, Council meetings will start at 3:00 p.m. to deal with committee business, recess at 5:00 p.m. and reconvene at 6:00 p.m. for public delegations and public hearings.

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All committee meetings will take place every second Tuesday on non-council weeks beginning at 9:00 a.m. Infrastructure and Protective Services will be held first followed by Corporate Services and Community Living.

Some council members did raise concerns that this new schedule could create timing issues for people coming to speak as well as people thinking of running for council in the future. While Given says those are both fair points he feels it was time for a change.

“The intention here is to try something different to see if it improves our efficiency and our turn around time for dealing with issues. I’m sure many members of council will be watching to make sure it doesn’t decrease the ability for members of the public to be involved.”

This new schedule will be in place until October 21st when it will be reevaluated. If council members find that the changes aren’t working it can be changed back in the fall.

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