Open letter to mayor and council of the Town of Watson Lake:
On January 7, I attended an open town hall meeting for the purpose of discussing the proposed Solid Waste Bylaw. I was interested in understanding more about this bylaw and responded to the posted notice inviting the public to “share ideas, concerns and questions with mayor and council.” After considerable effort I obtained a copy of the proposed bylaw beforehand and intended to request clarification on some points at this meeting.
When I made a comment about how difficult a process it had been for me to locate relevant information, the CAO, Stephen Conway, asked me when I had last attended a town council meeting, to which the mayor and some councillors said “yeah, when?” in a disrespectful tone.
I found the CAO’s question offensive, and the mayor and other councillors’ comments derogatory and unacceptable. Several people departed at that point, and others who seemed eager to also ask questions clammed up. I feel the citizens have been silenced at an “open” and “public” meeting.
Am I now the topic of public discussion? Do I have to attend town council meetings in order to request clarification or make comments at a town hall meeting? Is it necessary to defend to the public why I cannot attend council meetings or justify why I cannot access the Internet?