The MD of Bighorn is planning to appoint alternate members to its Municipal Planning Commission.
During a recent council meeting, MD planner Jan Thompson said it has been difficult to achieve quorum as the MPC, which is comprised of three public members and two MD councillors, has rarely had all five members in attendance at recent meetings, leading to the cancellation of one commission meeting.
Thompson said one public member is often away and the MPC bylaw requires quorum to be weighted with more public members than council members.
She added it has also been difficult to attract members of the public to join the MPC.
With approval of the request, Bighorn will seek two alternate members to augment the five-person commission to ensure that if one or more public members are not available to attend a meeting, alternate members can be called in to attend.
“We only had one instance where we had to cancel a meeting because of lack of quorum, which I think is an embarrassment to the MD of Bighorn,” Councillor Paul Ryan said during the May 8 meeting, “but we have also come close a number of times.”
Ryan suggested if suitable alternate members can’t be found, council should be allowed to make up quorum.
“We should allow it to fall back to us if we can’t find anyone willing,” he said.
Coun. Carolyn Montgomery, however, said she wasn’t comfortable with having a quorum of councillors. Instead, she said, she would rather have public members sit as alternate members; ideally from rural parts of the MD first and then the Bow Valley to ensure a more equal representation.
Currently, all of the public members of the MPC are from the Bow Valley.