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New Collingwood council eyes changes to committee structure

Deputy Mayor to put forward motion to have staff look into new committee system, while Mayor’s motion will ask staff to look into formation of an economic development task force
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Downtown Collingwood on a cloudy morning. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

As part of their first set of committee meetings, the new Collingwood mayor and deputy mayor will hit the ground running with motions that could upend the existing committee meeting structure.

During Monday’s (Dec. 5) strategic initiatives standing committee meeting, council will be considering a motion being put forward by Deputy Mayor Tim Fryer asking staff to report back on a committee-of-the-whole governance model for the Town of Collingwood.

“A new governance structure such as a committee of the whole could be advantageous, particularly with a number of new council members and potentially create more efficiencies,” reads Fryer’s motion.

As of now, members of council sit for three different committees monthly:

  • Strategic Initiatives
  • Corporate and Community Services
  • Development and Operations Services

The existing system divides up the broad range of council responsibility into specialized areas of interest. All council members serve on the strategic initiatives committee, but the other two committees are made up of four (of eight) council members plus the mayor. There are also two regular council meetings at the end of each month to ratify the business discussed at the three meetings.

A committee of the whole would be comprised of all members of council who fully participate in debate and forward recommendations to council for final decision. The format is less formal and more discussion-oriented.

The move to a committee-of-the-whole structure was last considered a year ago in Nov. 2021, but was ultimately defeated by the council of the time.

Should Fryer’s motion pass on Monday, all councillors will be appointed to serve on all committees in the meantime while town staff assemble a staff report on the possible change, to be brought back to council no later than March 2023.

Also to be considered on Monday, Mayor Yvonne Hamlin will be putting forward a motion asking for a staff report on options to start an Economic Development Task Force.

“Council deems it expedient to have regular discussions with the business community,” reads Hamlin’s motion, noting that the task force would support ongoing communication with the business community, and allow for the exchange of ideas and recommendations for town-wide economic development direction and goals.

Hamlin’s motion also requests the staff report on that matter come back no later than March 2023.

Discussions on both motions will be taking place during Monday’s strategic initiatives standing committee meeting, which is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. in the town hall council chambers at 97 Hurontario St.

To view the full agenda including the YouTube link, click here.

UPDATE: At the Dec. 5 strategic initiatives standing committee meeting and subsequent special council meeting, council voted unanimously in favour of Deputy Mayor Tim Fryer's motion to have staff look into a committee of the whole structure and report back prior by March 2023, and for all of council to sit on all existing committees until that time. Coun. Brandon Houston and Coun. Kathy Jeffery were absent.

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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