Chelsea councilsucceeds in shutting down discussion
We are a group of citizens from Chelsea who are interested in participating in discussions about the development of the municipality in which we reside. We would like to make positive contributions to the discussions around important development projects that affect us directly. How can we do that when we are not allowed access to the council?
At its most recent meeting, Chelsea council chose to limit questions during the question period. How, in a time of unprecedented growth in the municipality [and] when we cannot meet our council in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions, can they restrict the little access that we have to our mayor and councillors?
When several residents attending the Zoom council meeting on Feb. 2 submitted more than one question for the question period, they received an email specifying that, as per a municipal bylaw: “You can ask one question and one sub-question on the same topic.” Council made a narrow interpretation of this bylaw, restricting each participant to questions on one topic only, at a time when many important developments are simultaneously underway in the municipality.
This meant that there was no opportunity at the recent council meeting for a back and forth between residents and the mayor and councillors to better explain our concerns or to better understand their responses.
With this interpretation, Chelsea council has succeeded in shutting down discussion on issues of importance for their constituents. We are open to feedback from all parties to address our concerns about transparency at our council.
Barbara Shaw, on behalf of a group of residents in Ward 5, Chelsea