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Port Moody council meeting meets surprise end
Port Moody's council meeting on Tuesday ended abruptly, about halfway through the planned agenda, when a lone councillor refused to vote in favour of extending the meeting past 10 p.m.
Unanimous approval is required to keep the meeting going after the 10 p.m. cutoff, but Coun. Diana Dilworth can't remember it ever being an issue in the 15 years she's spent on council.
"I've never seen it happen and unfortunately it was really disrespectful to the people waiting in the audience for things to come up," she said.
Ann Hulbert, who spent 23 years as a PoMo councillor from 1978 to 2004, was at the meeting but left shortly before 10 p.m. She doesn't recall a council member voting against the meeting extension during her tenure, either.
"We've always gone beyond 10 p.m. I think the attitude causes me a bit of concern," Hulbert said. "You've got to do the city's business, and if it takes you another half an hour after 10, just do it."
Wendy Swalwell was also in the audience, and had been since the committee of the whole meeting started at 4 p.m. She was waiting for council votes on two particular items — the Adopt-A-Trail program and policies around invasive plants, both of which she'd raised at the last council meeting — but only the trail program was voted on.
"I was infuriated," Swalwell said. "Some of us were there to hear the entire agenda...it shows disrespect for attending audiences."
Lorraine Savage, a Coquitlam resident who had presented a non-monetary community garden plan to help lift residents out of poverty at the last council meeting, was just one agenda item away from hearing council's thoughts on her idea.
But after waiting patiently for three hours Savage wasn't bothered that council didn't deal with her item.
"I think they were tired, and I prefer they deal with things when they feel that they're ready to do so," Savage said. "It was interesting because I like to see how people do things, and now I see a little more about how Port Moody works."
Coun. Rick Glumac, who voted against extending the meeting, said as a new councillor he wasn't aware how uncommon it is to vote against the motion.
"There were enough compelling reasons for me to vote against it, so I did," Glumac said. There was too much packed into the agenda, which came after a lengthy committee of the whole meeting, and since the meeting took place at the Kyle Centre — not city hall — it was not televised or streamed online, meaning the PoMo residents at home couldn't watch the proceedings.
Glumac said he decided it would be best to shift the rest of the agenda items to a future meeting where there would be more opportunity for the public to see it and offer their input.
"We'd been there a long time, since 4 p.m. and it was uncomfortable," said Coun. Gerry Nuttall. "He had the right to do it if he felt we shouldn't go on, so that's what he did. If people don't like the way that was done then change the rules, but don't go after the person who exercised his right."
Items on the agenda that were missed include a review of the Rocky Point food carts pilot project, endorsing decisions from the committee of the whole and from the Nov. 20 finance committee meeting, as well as discussion around the status of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' application for the Inlet Centre Fire Hall.
A special council meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. at city hall to finish up the agenda.