File photo A public question period – now dubbed the ‘question and answer period’ – will return to White Rock council meetings in the new year.

Public queries to return to White Rock council meetings

Question session, removed in 2015, to be reinstated in January

The public will have a chance again to speak out and pose questions at White Rock council meetings in the new year.

The city is amending its procedures bylaw to allow for a public “question and answer period” at each regular Monday night council meeting.

A question period had long been a feature of council meetings before the White Rock Coalition-dominated council decision to remove it in February 2015. Previously scheduled at the beginning of meetings, it had been moved to the end in January 2013, and limited to matters from that evening’s agenda.

At Monday’s meeting, council gave first, second and third readings to the amendment bylaw, which would provide a 15-minute window for the public to ask questions and make comments at the start of each meeting. If given final approval Jan. 14, it will be in effect for the Jan. 28 council meeting.

Under the terms of the amendment, questions and comments would be limited to two minutes per speaker, with opportunity for further questions if all members of the public have had a chance to speak. It could also be extended by a further 15 minutes at the end of the meeting if a majority of council vote for it.

Questions would be excluded if they are on a matter that will be the subject of a public meeting or public hearing, while questions falling under Freedom of Information and Privacy Act provisions would be forwarded as written FOI requests. The period would also be suspended during September and October of a civic election year.

The change was approved with an additional amendment, moved by Coun. Erika Johanson, that “if there are questions that may be directed to an individual member of council, these would be addressed through the chairperson for direction.”

Corporate administration director Tracey Arthur told council that since it’s a proposed procedural bylaw, it needs to be advertised to the public for two weeks prior to the final vote.

Just Posted

Body still inside Surrey building two days after fire due to structural concerns

RCMP, fire investigations delayed ‘until the site is declared safe’

OUR VIEW: Foreigners need to butt out of our elections

Canadians don’t need outsiders to tell us who to vote for

Game-worn rugby jerseys auctioned in Surrey club’s ‘Ruck for the Cure’ fundraiser

Benefit for cancer society at Sullivan Heights Park and Beaverlodge clubhouse Saturday

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

B.C.’s best wheelchair curling teams to compete in Cloverdale this winter

The province is home to some of the world’s most decorated wheelchair curlers

VIDEO: Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech options pose threat

World-renowned cardiologist believes the device is just a pair of ‘rubber tubes’

Beers on the job, smacking crotches: 10 police misconduct probes in B.C.

Recent report by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner highlights a number of investigations

Seizure of cannabis edibles, including mac-and-cheese, prompt warning from B.C. RCMP

Potato chips, cheesecake and candy infused with cannabis also seized back in August

B.C. parents sue city and province in 12-year-old daughter’s drowning at lake

Beverly Park drowned at Rotary Lake in Dawson Creek in August 2016

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

UPDATE: Charges pending after two teens pepper sprayed at Port Coquitlam high school

Mounties are still working to determine exactly how many youth were involved

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

Most Read