Your voice is being heard at city hall and your new City Council is working hard to make changes that will improve your ability to be engaged in key decisions.
In only five months, this new Council has made a number of important changes. One of the first actions of the new Council was to reduce the permitted house size on farm land to 4,200 square feet from the 10,974 square foot mega mansions that were previously allowed.
My motion to create an enhanced online database of how City Council has voted on agenda items has passed and soon will be available at www.richmond.ca. In February, another motion was passed for staff to research and identify feasible options for publishing on the City’s website the audio recording from all Council and Standing Committee meetings that are not video recorded and report back to Council.
Another successful motion of mine, to modernize the Council Code of Conduct, was passed last fall. Council referred this to staff to review the code of conduct options and codes of conduct implemented in other municipalities and report back to Council for our discussion and consideration in the near future.
In February, a motion was passed directing staff to update the Public Art Policy regarding the distribution of developer funds that the City collects for public art. The new policy will consider the contributions for a range of uses including art programs and other benefits that will support the citizens of Richmond.
The most important step forward is the recent change to have City Council meetings agendas and reports available to Council, and more importantly the public, five business days before the meetings. Currently the information comes out Friday night for meetings that are beginning on the following Monday at 4:00 p.m. The additional time will allow Councillors and the public adequate time to speak with staff and to complete necessary research on important issues before they are discussed at Council or committee meetings.
Transparency and public engagement are necessary for a democratic and responsive local government and I believe 100 per cent that the changes we have made will improve the way we do business. Your Richmond City Hall is a welcoming place, please come by for lunch, enjoy the garden and water feature, check out the rotating art and museum displays showcasing local artists or pick up information on issues that interest you. Our helpful staff are there to serve you and maybe you will run into a Councillor.