The tone of this council felt different than those of previous ones, according to members of council, and it may have played a role in in what aldermen are deeming a success.

Having observed the previous council and now having gone through four days of budget talks, Nenshi said there’s a noticeable change.

“I know that when I’ve been sitting in the gallery in the past, people have been fighting and we really didn’t see that,” he said. “If people would put forth a motion, we’d have an honest debate about it and it would win or lose and we’d go to the next one.”

Veteran Ald. Dale Hodges said Nenshi wasn’t the only one to sense the shift.

“It was a lot better,” said Hodges, adding there was far more open discussion between council members.

“We were able to get into discussing a whole number of things, topics, relating to the budget but which weren’t formally in front of us.”

Peter Rishaug, co-founder of Civic Camp, said he’s been tuned into the council meeting all week.

“There’s a collective confidence, it seemed,” he said.

Rishaug said increasing the engagement with the public added a new level of openness to council.

“It’s quite a refreshing change,” said Rishaug.

Nenshi said submissions from the public greatly influenced council’s decisions.

“Based on one submission at the public hearing, we lowered the price of the low-income transit pass. We wouldn’t have done that without that public hearing.”

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