Editorial - Take advantage of access to council

It is always reaffirming of how municipal politics work best when you see members of Council having discourse with the public.

While no one would suggest Yorkton-Melville MP Cathay Wagantall, or Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit don’t have an open door to their constituents, but by sheer distance alone voters are still more disconnected from federal and provincial politics than those at City Hall.

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This particular edition of Council, and certainly the members who were voted into their first term last municipal election, have often talked about more open and accessible government locally.

For the most part the information coming out of City Hall locally for years has been rather transparent if one were following the regular meetings of Council, and looking at the minutes of the various committees of Council.

What has perhaps changed more with this edition of Council is greater use of social media as a conduit for the flow of information.

The problem that can arise with that move of course is the value of the information Council gets back.

Certainly you can disseminate information quickly via social media, but often the responses tend toward the extremes on any issue.

Social media can easily fall into the realm of the squeakiest wheels finding a forum for their views, which while still worthy of an ear from politicians, does not usually reflect the much larger middle ground most of us reside.

But, this Council has not turned exclusively to social media either.

Recently Council sat down as a group at Dairy Queen in the city, with hopes that members of the public might stop by to ask questions, or voice concerns.

The turnout was to put it mildly a total bust, with the number of people stopping by countable on one hand. However, Council provided the opportunity. They were at the table.

They did the same thing earlier this year at the old Land Titles Building. Again the turnout was small, but the important thing here is the access for residents.

Last week members of Council also met with representatives of the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce. That too is important access.

Of course no amount of access will answer all the questions of all the people to their satisfaction.

Not every decision of Council will be unanimously popular, most might not even be favoured by the majority when you factor in the people who don’t even vote these days, but having the door open to talk about things is still important.

It is an aspect of municipal politics that makes it somewhat unique, and locally the doors do seem open wide and welcoming for voters.

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