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Powassan councillor looking to increase town council seats

Hall said the municipality has been growing and he feels 'it's time we expand council to two more council members.'
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Powassan could see a larger council elected next year.

Powassan council could return to a seven-member composition in time for the next municipal election.

Coun. Randy Hall said he wants a debate and vote on the matter by late August or early September.

That's so the municipality meets the one-year notice requirement telling the public the October 2022 election will have seven and not five elected positions.

“As a council, we do a great job but we're busy,” Hall said as the prelude to his reasons for a larger council.

Hall told his colleagues, being on council was busier than he thought it would be and he has found himself short on time to complete council-related work.

Before Powassan amalgamated with Trout Creek and Himsworth South Twp the municipality had seven council members. The size of council was reduced to five following the merger between both communities.

Hall said the municipality has been growing and he “feels it's time we expand council to two more council members."

“I believe if we had two more council members we wouldn't be spread as thin and maybe we could become more efficient.”

Mayor Peter McIsaac said the municipality reduced the number by two members as “a cost-cutting measure” because the municipality was “looking to identify savings.”

McIsaac also said under the previous structure many of the council committees had two council members sitting on them.

McIsaac was reluctant to see a return to seven council members and isn’t convinced it would save councillors time.

“I just don't want to see us go back and lose those cost-savings.”

McIsaac proposed staff put together a report of the make-up of all the council committees “to see what everyone actually has because some committees don't meet every month.”

Hall said he sits on five committees including public works and the local agriculture committee.

McIsaac told him the agriculture group was not a council committee but Hall said he sits on that organization “because I'm on council.

“If I wasn't on council, I wouldn't sit on that committee,” Hall said.

Staff will complete the committee structure report in time for the late summer debate Hall has requested.

Meanwhile, McIsaac said having that report may also serve a secondary purpose that helps people thinking of running for town council.

McIsaac said once people see the number of committees council members are expected to sit on, it gives everyone a better idea of the kind of commitment they must be ready to make if they want to get elected to council.

“It will give them an idea of what's involved,” he said.

“It's not just showing up for a meeting every second Tuesday. You're actually involved in the background meetings that get us here.”

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.