by Madeline Baker —
Merritt City Council sat down to determine which committees should be added, removed, or continued into their ongoing term at their April 4 Committee of the Whole meeting, and now they’re calling on the public to get involved.
While some committees, known as standing committees, are dictated by the provincial government and predominantly filled by council members themselves, select committees are made up of community members and represent the general public’s best opportunity to present important issues directly to council.
This year, four select committees are looking for applicants to make up their voting base: the Age-Friendly and Accessibility Committee, Economic Development Committee, Airport Advisory Committee, and Youth Advisory Committee. About six voting positions are available in each committee and will be filled by applicants from the community.
Once those positions are filled, committees will meet four times a year – unless a specific project or circumstance calls for more regular discussion and planning – and bring their recommendations, reports, and proposals to city council for consideration.
Mayor Mike Goetz called committees “the pulse of the community” and emphasized their importance as extra sets of eyes and ears to determine what needs are not currently being met by the city council and government.
As an example of the developments that can be spearheaded by committee members, Goetz pointed out that the flashing lights that were added to certain low-visibility crosswalks around the city came from a proposal made by a previous Age-Friendly and Accessibility committee.
Though all the committees are of equal importance, Goetz expressed particular excitement about the Youth Advisory Committee, which will consist of two placements from Merritt Secondary School and two from Nicola Valley Institute of Technology along with the four chosen by council from community applications.
“I’m really hoping that we get a lot of youth to put their names forward,” said Goetz. “This is about them, not us. It’s for them to see how this works and be a part of change.”
More information about the City of Merritt’s standing committees, such as the selection criteria for each committee based on its area of focus, can be found at merritt.ca/committees. Applications can also be downloaded from the city website or picked up at City Hall.