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REPORTING · 9th February 2011
Walter McFarlane
Council went through many motions on January 17th, The second motion regarded Council education. Halyk said there were options for administration and Council to take courses relating to public consultation, negotiations, dealing with conflict and so forth either online or around the province. Halyk pointed out these were opportunities which the Council was missing.

“Those opportunities, yes they show themselves but not in a timely manner some times. If we have to wait to come to Council and ask if we could go or do one of these courses or even for administration to do such a thing, then we run the gambit of trying to be on time and approved and I think that for Councillors and the Mayor to take the opportunity isn’t so easy and I’d like to change that,” said Halyk.

He pointed out online courses which were inexpensive, had no travel time, hotel stays and so on.

Councillor Rob Goffinet said the Council had a small travel pool to travel outside of Kitimat. He suggested putting it off until the upcoming budget meetings. Mayor Joanne Monaghan said there were no Councillors who went over their budget.

Municipal Manager Trafford Hall explained the money was to represent the District of Kitimat to attend conventions and represent the community. There was an allotment of $26,000 for this and it is not actually divided by 7. The District does keep track of who uses the money. Hall also pointed out they would not send a member of the board of directors to a particular course, they would more likely send their foreman.

Councillor Corinne Scott came with the budget from 2010. She said there was a budget item for General and Special Council expenses.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff suggested amending to the motion to give $1000 for Councillors. He agreed receiving money for courses some times could not be done in a timely manner. “As individuals, we should be given some flexibility without bringing all our requests forward to Council. I think that this type of amendment basically builds upon what I think is a good policy that we have in place right now,” said Feldhoff.

Scott pointed out Council reduced their expenses during the last budget and this change would put them close to where they were before. Hall reminded the Council about all the projects which they have. During the budget process, they will be called upon to trim away some ideas to keep taxes down. Hall suggested Councillors look at the courses they would like to take and bring back an estimate of how much the course would cost.

Feldhoff said they were not asking for additional money. Sometimes, courses come up which Councillors would like to take. He understood the motion as providing Councillors with a little more flexibility to take courses and come back to Council.

Halyk wished to speak to the intent of his motion. He explained the high level organizations with which the Council works offer courses for Councillors but they never get opportunities to go to the courses because the council does not have the flexibility to jump on them right away. They have to go through Council to do this. He said he was all right with the amendment.

The amendment was called and carried. The motion was called and carried as well. Monaghan asked Council to inform the rest of Council when they go on one of these courses.