Open line has been a staple in the radio biz for years. Now city council is looking at a bylaw amendment that would give you the chance to phone into one of council’s committee meetings, instead of having to go to City Hall to make a presentation in person.
“By changing the bylaw it’s going to open up some opportunities immediately,” said Coun. Andrew Knack who’s been pushing for this expansion. “Specifically people would be able to phone into a committee meeting to share their views and they don’t have to be outside Edmonton now, which is a good change.”
Knack said he’d like to see it tested with a limit of ten participants to start with, just to keep things under control. No one on council wants to see it where a public hearing could turn into a marathon session that lasts for days.
“The risk of somebody gathering up 500 residents to call up, or something like that is minor,” Knack said. “I think most people are going to still be very respectful. They’re not going to have 500 people repeat the same message. But in reality this just opens up the opportunity for people to actually connect and share their views with council who maybe haven’t had the opportunity before.”
“We received a letter a few weeks ago from the Accessibility Advisory Committee saying they would love to see this change made. So people with mobility concerns, seniors, even younger Edmontonians have reached out to say ‘I can’t take a day off work to come sit through a council meeting’ but they could take five minutes off work to come and make a call and share their views.”
Knack has buy-in from colleagues. Coun. Dave Loken’s only concern is, if the technology is good enough to handle the calls.
“It’s often frustrating in council meetings when one of us will call in and there’s all kinds of background noise and people are getting cut off, so as long as we have our technical capabilities up to snuff and it’s a smooth process and it doesn’t complicate things too much, why not? Why not give people more accessibility and open things up more.”
Council’s executive committee will review the bylaw Tuesday at 1:30. You will have to be there in person to comment on the proposal.
To read the report, click here and go to item 6.7