The Barossa Council has voted to keep their ordinary meetings at 9am despite a councillor's concern that this time-slot discourages community involvement in the public forum.
During council's August meeting, councillor Leonie Boothby made a recommendation to shift meetings from 9am to 6pm. She was optimistic the shift would enable more people to become involved in local government, especially in the lead-up to council elections which fall next month.
However, the motion failed after being voted down by six councillors.
“My main concern has always been that the working population, generally speaking, would find 9am to be a challenging time to attend council meetings, deliver deputations or to actually participate in local government as a councillor,” councillor Boothby said.
“I know people have been put off by it [the time].
“I am just trying to demonstrate that change is possible.”
Supporting Ms Boothby's recommendation was councillors Lange, Boothby, Harms and Angas and Mayor Bob Sloane who commended the idea and expressed his disappointment in the result of the vote.
“As Mayor I want to see as many good nominations for council as possible and if that means we change the meetings to night-time then we should change it to night-time,” Mayor Sloane said.
“I know of some very capable candidates for council that would like to nominate but are prohibited due to the restrictions of their work hours.”
Mayor Sloane also said that a more accessible meeting time would let more members of the community have their voices heard in council.
“In the morning we can have a fairly empty gallery. If we were to hold meetings at night I think we could see more people attending to listen and have their voices heard,” he said.
The Barossa Council, when compared to similarly sized regional councils, is one of only a small handful of councils that hosts meetings during 9am-5pm working hours.
For the larger, more rural councils, long travel times means daytime meetings are the only option. In the Barossa council area, the travel time to the chambers is, at most, 45 minutes.
The time of council meetings will very first issue discussedby the new council after the elections in November.
Nominations for council open Tuesday September 4 and close at 12 noon on Tuesday September 18.