Sackville mayoralty candidate calls for revival of citizen committees

Councillor Shawn Mesheau

Sackville Mayoralty candidate Shawn Mesheau is calling for restoration of citizen committees to advise town council on how to improve day-to-day services.

“Years ago when I first sat on council, we had a parks advisory committee, we had a recreation advisory committee [and] I’ve sat myself personally on a police advisory committee,” Mesheau said today during a telephone interview.

He also outlined his ideas in a news release that mentions the Age Friendly committee spearheaded by former Mayor Pat Estabrooks.

Mesheau says the committees consisted of four or five community members assisted by a town staff person.

“They became the outreach for the municipality,” he says. “Those folks were tasked with going out into the community and talking to people.”

He adds that the committees would bring recommendations back to council on community needs.

“Maybe we’re seeing future growth, residential growth in certain areas, so maybe the community should be looking at additional trails in that area, it’s that type of feedback.”

He said town council wasn’t involved in the police advisory committee that he served on.

“We did the leg work. We reached out to the Seniors’ Club, we reached out to the university, we reached out to the schools and we had those types of discussions of what do you foresee as policing needs,” he said.

“Then we brought that in and we broke it down and then reported back to council saying ‘listen this is what we’re hearing, this is what people are telling us, so here’s some suggestions and recommendations.'”

Mesheau says the citizen committees would help keep town council more in touch with residents.

“It keeps us in tune as elected officials to the community and the needs of the community.”

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9 Responses to Sackville mayoralty candidate calls for revival of citizen committees

  1. Azi says:

    Nice Idea. But, I wonder what mechanism will be in place to make sure that the citizens (volunteers?) involved will be treated with respect for what they do, say, believe and recommend? Unlike the experience of many volunteer members of the Heritage Board (which existed years ago too).

  2. Kathy Best says:

    I totally agree that the TOS should have a Police Advisory Committee again. The citizens have no idea who the members are that are responsible to this area. I feel that it is a necessary thing to feel comfortable talking to any police officer and that if ppl knew the officers they may feel more comfortable in sharing information with them.

  3. Rob says:

    I had been chair of London City Council’s Advisory Committee on the Environment when I made the move to Sackville from Ontario over a decade ago. It was quite surprising to find out that citizen advisory committees didn’t really exist in Sackville in any meaningful way. Indeed, many larger municipalities in the country rely heavily on these types of committees for studying, analyzing, and even innovating policy. Not to mention that outside of direct involvement in electoral politics (or attempting to penetrate the province’s crony-istic process for appointing members to Agencies, Boards, & Commissions) there seem to be very few opportunities for civically-minded people to get involved in New Brunswick public life. Both mayoral candidates should be embracing citizen advisory committees with enthusiasm.

  4. Christian Corbet says:

    As an active member of the LGBT+ community I am pleased to say I have commenced dialogues with Shawn Mesheau suggesting for all town employees, including town council, to learn more about creating a safer more accepting diversified community. Why? because this town needs to better educate and understand the many wonderful people that make up this town. Mesheau understands the need for the town to grow and expand on approaching new informative ways for progressive growth in the Town of Sackville.
    I am hopeful!

  5. Sharon Hicks says:

    Citizen Advisory Committees – Now there’s an idea I could get behind!

    I feel they have served valuable purposes in the past, both here and in other municipalities as well, and there is no reason to think they would not be just as valuable as we go forward into the future.

    I was never involved in any such committees here in Sackville, though I did participate in a similar one in Fredericton where I lived for many years. At that time there were an assortment of citizen committees – the one I was involved with had to do with gathering and analyzing information to do with the Arts world, and the information we provided was well-accepted and used by Council. It was a good system.

    Over the past five years, public input into the workings of Sackville’s Town Government has been progressively pushed aside, and this concept of Citizen Advisory Committees could go a long way toward getting things back on track.

    One area in particular comes to mind – whenever issues arise for Councilors to deliberate and vote on, there is usually a lot of information-gathering to be done, in order for them to be able to make a fully informed decision. However, not all Councilors might have the time or resources available to gather thorough-enough information to show the full ‘bigger picture’. That’s where a general Citizen’s Advisory Committee could gather information from a wide range of sources, then categorize and compile it for easy access by all Council members.

    Azi (see comment above) mentioned the unfortunate demise of the Heritage Board, which was dissolved in 2018 when the Heritage Bylaw was abolished. We were told at the time that there would ‘soon’ be a replacement for that bylaw, but here we are nearly 3 years later and we are still waiting. Here again, a Citizen Advisory Committee for Heritage could serve a valuable purpose.

  6. Change says:

    Got my vote

  7. Kata List Productions says:

    Historially: When you have a monthly town council meeting and invite the public you have a microphone, speaker’s podium, and a time slot for any and all citizens to directly address the council and mayor and staff on camera and for the record with their concerns. Isn’t that enough? Once the decision is made to reconvene in town hall, people will be able to attend and discuss any thing they are passionate or concerned about – shouldn’t require more committees and more secret groups and cliques.. should it? The Town puts these meetings on a video channel at Youtube that may be shared far and wide.. helpful and very modern compared to the old days. We are not going back to the old days.. we are going forward.. don’t get left behind.

  8. Harold says:

    Makes sense …

    “Top-down, reactive and poorly-communicated government decrees and mandates do not work when citizens-in-community are excluded and can have unintended degenerative effects on community capacities. Generative approaches, in contrast, are grounded in the belief that communities themselves are best placed to know what is best for them. With the right support and clear information, citizens are effective in creating locally sensitive solutions to challenges.”
    —Cormac Russell

  9. Yes, I do believe indeed we need a revival of citizen committees.

    General Food for Thought on this Matter

    Today’s Word is “Classism”

    We do have input from citizens but it always seems to be from the same pool sometimes termed “grievance culture”. Areas the town council simply have no legal authority over anyway in most cases.

    People that tend to be upper-middle-class. People that have the time to take a Tuesday afternoon off to be on municipal committees.

    There seems to be a lot of tedious virtual signaling and even a lot of bullying at the municipal levels these days.

    Trying to impress people within one’s own peer group or groups and a means to a network to pocket more grant money.

    It almost seems one needs to pass a type of “social credit score” to be part of municipal committees or even be on a lot of town councils these days. Maybe censoring elected officials’ FB pages, even though they are not employees?

    Though if you disagree with their “social norms” one should probably be censored for their own good, and public shaming of individuals without merit is not out of the question these days. One’s intuition now equals fact, which for me tends to lead to what is termed “noble cause corruption” in many cases. In laymen’s terms justifying theft from the public trust.

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