The Committee of the Whole format allows members of the public to hear about and provide input into a wide range of issues that affect them. Attendees can speak at the beginning of the meeting, participate in discussion about each agenda item, and share final thoughts the end of the meeting.
Broad input on a range of issues
In the past, separate committees were in place to discuss issues related to a specific topic, such as transportation, planning or parks. One Council member would chair the committee with a vice chair, and two Colwood citizens would be appointed as members. This meant that often only one member of Council had the benefit of hearing citizen input firsthand before Council voted on an issue. It also often left public participation largely to the two unelected citizen committee members, rather than inviting input from a broad range of people.
With Committee of the Whole, all members of Council have the benefit of thorough discussion and citizen input on each topic.
The goal is to assist Council in making more durable decisions by giving them direct insight into the needs and priorities of community members before they are required to sit at the Council table and make a binding decision. Dialog is welcome on each agenda item.
Recommendations go to Council for a decision
Committee of the Whole is a place to encourage in depth discussion of topics, but it is not where decisions are made. If a decision is required, the committee will make a recommendation that will be voted on at an upcoming Council meeting.