It was a full house at last Saturday’s inaugural Community Conversations event hosted by White Rock Coun. David Chesney.
More than 50 people attended the event, held at the White Rock Public Library at 10 a.m., to discuss a variety of topics.
On hand to engage with the public was Chesney and Coun. Helen Fathers, with invitations extended to the rest of council and Mayor Wayne Baldwin.
“I hope (they come next time),” Chesney told Peace Arch News. “I’ve extended a personal invitation to the mayor.”
However, Baldwin told PAN Wednesday that he “likely would not go” to one of the events hosted by Chesney.
“Really, what it is, is something for him to get his name out there,” Baldwin said, noting former White Rock mayor Catherine Ferguson had a similar arrangement called Coffee with Catherine.
Baldwin noted that council is working on an alternate forum for discussion after question period was removed from the end of council meetings last month.
“We’re working on how we can accommodate that,” Baldwin said.
Chesney had promised residents during his campaign for councillor that he would host a monthly informal meeting for residents to discuss city issues. Once question period was removed, he emphasized the importance of having such a forum.
Overall, Chesney said, the forum was a very positive experience, with many in attendance happy to have a place to voice their concerns.
“There were a couple of people who were very frustrated, and I wouldn’t say that they turned up to bitch, but they did turn up to have a primal scream,” Chesney said. “Once we got past that, I think the meeting, generally, was very positive and it was pretty heartwarming to hear the feedback from the community.”
One topic that dominated the conversation was the changes to waste collection in the city, which the first-time councillor said he will bring up to fellow elected officials.
“We can do a bit better job of providing information to alleviate the concerns people have,” he said.
Chesney noted that those who attended promised to bring a friend to the April 4 Community Conversations event, which he aims to host at the library again – space permitting.
“We could be in Centennial Arena before you know it,” Chesney laughed.