Going to Council Meetings!

Going to Council Meetings!

By Emily Kathan

Probably like many of you, I have always felt a little intimidated by the idea of sitting in on council meetings as a member of the public, and even wondered if I’m really allowed to be there. Now, I know better. The Nova Scotia Municipal Government Act says explicitly that (with some specific exceptions), “council meetings, and meetings of committees appointed by council, are open to the public” so in general, anyone can attend.

How should you prepare? Most municipalities in the Valley provide documents on their websites about various concerns of the council or village commission, the minutes from previous meetings, and what will be discussed at the next one. Some municipalities use especially creative strategies to promote meetings and give citizens information necessary to make sense of the proceedings, like Wolfville council’s infographic about their latest operating budget, or Kings County’s timeline of upcoming public consultations about their new municipal complex. “Like” them all on Facebook, and they’ll keep you up-to-date right in your newsfeed.

Now that you know how to get informed, it’s time to get involved! Here are some of the public meetings happening soon in the Annapolis Valley:

Kentville’s Council Advisory Committee meets at 6pm on April 10, and Council meets at 7pm on April 24, 354 Main Street, Kentville (kentville.ca).

Windsor’s council meets next on March 28 at 7pm and it will be a public hearing about urban agriculture (beekeeping and laying hens) also at 7pm, with both taking place in council chambers, 100 King Street, Windsor (town.windsor.ns.ca/month.calendar/2014/08/19/).

Wolfville’s upcoming meetings include the RCMP Advisory Board on Tuesday, March 28 at 10am, and the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, April 4 at 8:30am (wolfville.ca/events/month/#2017-03-01).

New Minas’ Area Advisory Committee will meet at the Louis Millet Community Complex on April 3 at 7pm. The Water Commission will meet on April 26 at 7pm (newminas.com/).

The Village of Kingston Commission will next meet on Thursday, April 13 (kingstonnovascotia.ca/agendas.htm).

The Municipality of the County of Kings’ Committee of the Whole will meet on Tuesday, March 28 at 9am, and the Municipal Council meets Tuesday, April 4 at 6pm. Both will meet in Council Chambers, 87 Cornwallis Street, Kentville (countyofkings.ca/).

What was your experience learning about government in school? How about going to council meetings or public consultations? Write to me at distribution@grapevinepublishing.ca