A letter from the Kamloops Voters Society calling for City council to draft an in-camera bylaw was met with a decision to look at what’s been done in the past.
City council voted unanimously Tuesday to have staff compile information on the number of in-camera and regular meetings previous councils have held every year for the past two decades or so.
Council also voted to have the City’s lawyer write back to the society explaining their position, with Coun. Arjun Singh alone in opposition.
The debate and decision came as a result of a letter from society member Bob Gamble, who felt council should not have held its strategic planning session behind closed doors.
City corporate and community affairs director Len Hrycan said the rules are clear about when council meets in-camera — when discussing land, legal and labour issues.
But council can also opt to go in-camera for reviews and discussion on such things as strategic planning, he said.
He estimated that council probably holds fewer than 24 in-camera meetings a year.
Coun. Pat Wallace suggesting going back a few previous mayors and councils to note any trend.
Singh said the concern in the letter didn’t appear to be around regular meetings, but the strategic planning session, specifically.
“It seems to be a grey area,” he said.
Hrycan said City lawyers have looked at the information and legislation around in-camera sessions and have concluded council can choose to hold strategic planning meetings in-camera.
He said 85 to 90 per cent of other municipalities contacted do the same.
Mayor Peter Milobar supported the report on past practices because, he said, there seem to be people in the community who feel council is doing everything behind closed doors.