Saskatoon city council switches to new meeting system

Some big changes in effect for Saskatoon city council.

Fewer, longer council meetings, more committees

Some big changes are coming to how Saskatoon city council operates.

Starting this week, council meetings will be held once a month. Previously they were held every two weeks.

The meetings will also be longer. Council meetings will now start at 1 pm, with the public hearings section to start at 6 pm.

Two more city committees have also been added. 

The five main committees now include: planning, development and community services; finance; transportation; environment, utilities and corporate services; and the executive committee.

These committees have been given more power. They now have the authority to decide minor issues, such as extending a noise bylaw, without having to address council.

The way citizens address city council has also changed. Anyone wanting to talk to council on something not on the agenda, will now be asked to address a committee, not the general council meeting.

The changes have been controversial. While proponents say the new model will streamline the council process, others worry the new system will make it more difficult for the public to have their voice heard.

This week, in a trial run of the idea, council will be holding a series of both committee and council meetings running from Monday to Thursday.

In September, all city council and committee meetings will be held on Mondays.

The finance committee will be meeting this morning at 9 am.