Bruce Langer

I’m considered a relative newcomer to Chelsea since I moved here 6 years ago. However, because I live and have my business here in Ward 2, Chelsea is my home, period.

I have become a local quickly, meeting many people and becoming known as a business person and vocal commentator, activist at Council meetings which I have attended regularly since moving to Town.

What always puzzled me about our public Council meetings was that they aren’t really “public” Council meetings at all. I have been attending true council meetings, where the public has an opportunity to make its views known BEFORE council and the mayor make up their minds, since the 1980s.

In 1984 I was hired by the Town of Ajax, Ontario, Planning Department to head up their municipal housing corporation. So I have had plenty of exposure to council meetings -both good and bad.  Chelsea’s are bad.

Chelsea meetings are devoid of real information, they are not the genuine article. The business has all been dealt with, discussed, debated and voted on before the public is invited to have its say.

The question period at the beginning of the session, a vague opportunity for citizens to voice random concerns and complaints to the Council.

There are no deputations from proponents of major

developments, no staff department  reports, no Council

questioning or debate, and generally no recorded vote.

This is totally out of step for the time and intelligence and integrity of this community.

This is the main reason that the last two major development decisions were forced to referendum. People were not properly consulted, and their concerns weren’t respected.

The process has become severely flawed, and tilted in favour of behind-closed-doors decision making. The people do not trust the decision making to the decision makers.  This can be fixed.

Community involvement requires real public consultation. True public consultations begin very early in the process, and are not an inconvenient afterthought as the previous Council and mayor has treated them.

They are an opportunity for the citizens to formulate their ideas so that these concepts can be incorporated into concept drawings and plans.

These major issues should be the agenda items for Council meetings. They should be open, public and citizens should see and hear the reports of staff and questioning of their elected representatives, their debate and recorded vote.

If elected, I pledge to:

1. Advocate the open/transparent council meetings so the residents of Chelsea can be heard BEFORE council makes up its mind on how to spend your money, and on what kind of community you want to live in.

2. Set up an interactive, online forum where you can discuss and debate the issues of the day.  Comments on this forum will be fully considered when Council deliberates.

3. Post Council agendas online well before every meeting, and provide full documentation of agenda items at the meeting so you can see how we’re spending our time (your time!), and add items for our consideration as you see fit.

4. Provide simultaneous translation services to all Council and committee meetings to maximize the information being discussed and debated, spending less time repeating information and more time providing details and real dialogue.

5. Seek funding from council to webcast our meetings so you can follow along at home.