Muskoka Lakes follows trend in monthly meetings
MUSKOKA LAKES - Another one of Muskoka's municipality's is moving to a monthly meeting schedule.
Following hours of meetings in the latter half of 2012 to coincide their schedule on the same week as the district, Muskoka Lakes had to revisit the topic when the district moved to a trial monthly meeting schedule in December.
The schedule expanded from three days to four to allow for more time for the planning meetings and to eliminate lag time between meetings if one finished early.
The meetings will begin at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. to allow seasonal residents more time to travel from Toronto to attend or delegate.
Coun. Phil Harding, a seasonal resident who lives in Toronto, said he is in favour of the monthly schedule.
“When we’re actually in meetings, we’re not engaging with the public, and I’m more accessible to really do the work of a councillor. Sitting in a meeting isn’t really doing the work of a councillor in my opinion,” he said.
As a seasonal resident, he said he is trying to represent both sides.
“When our seasonal residents are in Toronto I have an opportunity and I meet with them on a regular basis and discuss issues and things with people in Toronto,” he said. “I’m always available for meetings either in Mukoska and or Toronto, so a two-hour drive on the highway is nothing.”
When the new schedule begins the committee of adjustment will meet on Thursday, council on Friday, the planning portion of committee of the whole on Monday and the remaining committee of the whole items on Tuesday. The meetings will flank the weekend just before the District of Muskoka holds its meetings.
Before the district changed its schedule, council was held every third Monday followed that evening by district council. The next day Muskoka Lakes held their committee of the whole meeting. Throughout that week, councillors attended various district meetings.
Earlier in the discussions, Coun. Allen Edwards, also a district councillor, said it was too much to have so many meetings in the same week, particularly for district councillors who attended two council meetings on Mondays.
He said they’ll have to wait and see what the new schedule brings.
“Changing to a different week from the district schedule is good in one way and now we can pay more attention to each set of meetings, so that’s good,” he said.
The new schedule will begin in March and be reviewed in early summer around the time the district conducts its six-month review of the one-month schedule.
“If it becomes a burden, we’ll definitely switch back,” Edwards said.