Halifax regional council gave the go-ahead yesterday to bring about 40 municipal committees under the heading of six “standing committees.”
Under the standing committee structure, the majority of previously existing committees will be grouped by themes.
For example, the new standing committee for transportation will include the current active transport committee, transit advisory committee and the regional trails advisory.
The new structure means more councillors will sit on fewer committees with larger mandates.
Coun. Steve Streatch, who sits on the membership selection committee responsible for the recommendation, called the move a “maturing” of council.
“This represents many, many months and indeed years ... to get to this point,” he said.
Council was not without concerns, however.
Coun. Peter Lund expressed worries the creation of standing committees would add another level of governance. Municipal Clerk Cathy Mellet said staff believe they will have the opposite effect, making the committee process more efficient and effective.
But Coun. Jennifer Watts said her experience with the current committee structure seemed efficient and effective enough — a sentiment echoed by Coun. Gloria McCluskey.
Despite the concerns, an overwhelming majority voted for the standing committee structure, which will be implemented this fall.
- Council also voted last night to phase out purchasing bottled water in municipally owned buildings.
- All municipal buildings with access to clean water — with the exception of community and recreation centres — are being asked to do the phasing out.
- The motion was amended by Coun. Steve Streatch to include the phrasing “when possible.”