Citizens should speak up at city council

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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Moose Javians need to be more like local resident Roberta Pilsner.

Roberta Pilsner (centre) addresses council about the Phyllis Dewar outdoor pool at Monday's regular city council meeting.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Pilsner addressed Mayor Deb Higgins and the six city councillors about the Phyllis Dewar outdoor pool.

Pilsner urged council not to redevelop the land, which is a possibility after council recently determined to issue an RFP on the Natatorium and indoor pool.

The direction council decides to go with in regards to the outdoor pool — repairs or redevelopment — is unknown. That said, it’s expected to be a topic of conversation in the community in the weeks and months ahead.

But at least Pilsner had the audacity to step in front of council and take a stance.

It was the first time a citizen had informally addressed council on city matters without debate or action of council, since council approved a motion allowing a brief public forum at the end of council meetings earlier this year.

Pilsner was still required to register on a speakers’ list at the city clerk/solicitor’s office by noon last Friday, but didn’t have to apply to have her voice heard.

Members of the public should not have to apply to address their public representatives. We voted them into office and if we aren’t freely permitted to speak to them at public meetings, then how does that resemble democracy?

Fortunately, city council amended its previous backwards policy so citizens like Pilsner can make their voices be heard.

Granted, citizens are only allowed to address council for a maximum of five minutes — time that could be expanded if, for example, only one person is slated to address council.

After all, the public forum portion of the council meeting lasts up to 15 minutes. So, why not allow that one person to present their argument for the entire 15 minutes?

Nonetheless, council’s decision to approve the public forum is worthy of applause. We just hope more citizens will take advantage of this forum to publicly share their thoughts about issues in the city, as opposed to privately grumbling about them.

All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.

Organizations: Times-Herald

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