HRM council meeting back on
Barkhouse says transit strike necessitates meeting
Tuesday's council meeting is back on, said Halifax Coun. Jackie Barkhouse. She said she got word from the HRM clerk Sunday morning. The meeting was cancelled last week due to a lack of agenda items.
However some councillors complained and asked that the meeting be reinstated in light of the ongoing transit strike, which has stranded thousands of commuters since it started last Thursday.
"In the midst of a strike we should absolutely be meeting. There is at the very least updates that we need and questions that we have to have the opportunity to ask," Barkhouse said.
Coun. Tim Outhit was another of the councillors who asked that the meeting be reinstated.
"It came as a bit of a surprise to us when we heard that we weren't going to be meeting," he said Saturday. "A number of us were sort of hoping that we would come together to get an update on the transit strike situation."
Outhit also said that some councillors want to propose changes to rules around parking and taxi regulations to make it easier for residents to get around during the transit strike.
Barkhouse questioned the practice of cancelling council meetings. "Council meetings really should not be cancelled. We're a large municipality, we have a lot of business that needs to be done," she said.
She added that council meetings should be viewed as opportunities to look forward. "There's always something on the horizon," she said.
Barkhouse said meetings should be better planned to be more even in length, rather than having some weeks with marathon meetings and some with none at all.
"There are days when we're in a room for in excess of 12 hours. Smooth it out a little bit and make it so that we meet every Tuesday … I think there's a better way to organize the agenda."
The request to reinstate Tuesday's meeting was made Friday night and again Saturday morning to the executive committee, which makes the final decision.
That committee is made up of Mayor Peter Kelly, Deputy Mayor Bill Karsten, Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts, the solicitor and the municipal clerk.