Deputy mayor needs to rethink meeting time proposal for council

Cobourg council truly dropped the ball when Deputy Mayor Stan Frost proposed moving its weekly meeting to 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Monday nights.

The BurdReport did a great job deconstructing the issues around the consultation process regarding this announcement. And, his comments were spot on.

Just a few points to add.

This is one of those moves by a group of politicians where it signals how the council is out of touch and isolated. It is also another sign of the influence of the aging demographic within Cobourg.

Sure, when you are retired or not working, it is easy to show up to a public meeting, like council, at 4 p.m. But for those of us who work and have a family, I guess your voice does not count. It is a slap in the face to families, working people and those who face the rigors of everyday life. It is already hard enough to follow the machinations of local politics without further complicating them.

The town’s strategic plan released in 2011 calls for “ensuring open, clear and timely communications. Well sir, you failed on all three in this case.

The deputy mayor needs to seriously rethink this. While the economics may appeal to his accountant’s instincts, he should stand back and look around to see how he is further limiting Cobourg citizens’ ability to participate in the democratic process. It should not matter that no one ever shows up or few people do (although it is surprising how many people come). And, when there is a huge issue of importance, what will happen? If you are unable to get off work, then it is tough luck.

The deputy mayor or someone else on council might like to think outside the box. Rather than trying to limit participation, they should increase it by using new and emerging technologies to make it far easier to engage with the process. A long list of tools could be used at this point, but it would take too much time to write them all down.

Surprise us, Mr. Frost. Withdraw your proposal and go back to the drawing board. Come back with a plan for the 21st Century, not the early 19th.

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