At a council meeting on Wednesday, March 8, Deputy Mayor Wanda Hedderson asked for some updated information on what the criteria and regulations are for young people under the age of 18 to sit in on council.
The provincial government voted in favour of Bill 6, a change in legislation allowing youth to participate in council meetings, in 2014. The new rules allow the council to appoint one or more youth on their council as an ex-officio member, with the title youth representative.
The legislation doesn’t have a specific mandate for the youth, but does confirm they can sit in on discussions and deliberate on different items on conditions that are defined by the council.
St. Lunaire-Griquet is now hoping to designate a seat for one of the youth in the community.
The town has just over 600 people, and only a small percentage of them are under 18. But Hedderson is looking forward to all information so they can get the ball rolling.
Local teenager Kate Burden is a leader in the community, a cadet and involved in many activities.
When asked what she thought about involving youth with council and to include a more hands on approach, she was pleased.
“I do think that bringing a youth member on the council would be a great idea because we have a very small community without a lot of youth and I think it’s important to get those youth involved in as many aspects of our community as possible,” she explained. “With a youth member on the (council), they would be able to keep the youth interested in the community.”
Hedderson agrees. She wants to get the details for what a youth can participate in and the guidelines for their participation as soon as possible, so they can be prepared to invite someone to be part of the next council.
Municipalities go to the polls in September to elect new councils.
The hope is, Hedderson said, to get more youth interested so the opportunity is there for ensuring the council will continue in the future with well informed and engaged locals taking part.