Members of city council hear about a lot of different issues and events. And a good council member will try to process all that they hear, and decide if they can add value to an event or issue.
It's tough, because there is very hard to be involved with everything in a meaningful way. But, on the other hand, a council member does have a platform, a stature, and a responsibility to bring things up.
This all came to mind, at a recent council meeting, as I watched Councillor Nancy Bepple bring up the speed of trains going through Kamloops. Nancy had been walking downtown with a friend who has many years of railroad experience. A train was passing by the crossing, and her friend remarked that the train was moving too fast.
Nancy had asked council to write a letter to CN, asking about the speed of the trains. A discussion ensued. Who should the letter be copied to? Should a meeting be requested first?
Council decided to write a letter to CN directly, without copying Transport Canada.
An editorial in the Kamloops Daily News criticized that decision, saying I believe something to the effect that council should have had someone just phone CN, before writing a letter.
The editorial was a bit harsher than I felt it needed to be. Generally speaking, however, I agree that a phone call should come before a letter in situations such as these.
Motions for letters of one type or the other are pretty common at council meetings. I think Nancy was probably searching for the best way to talk about a legitimate concern.
Perhaps, Council might want to discuss some sort of protocol for communication about concerns to organizations, companies etc.