The City of Cranbrook will soon be doing away with proclamations.
At the Monday meeting, council gave city staff the go ahead to prepare a Proclamation Policy in which the city does not make any official proclamations.
Proclamations are ceremonial documents signed by the mayor to create public awareness and recognition of different causes.Under the policy, requests for proclamations will also no longer be placed on regular council agendas.
Coun. Danielle Cardozo noted that eliminating proclamations could negatively affect certain organizations.
“A lot of non-profit organizations sometimes rely on these kind of proclamations as a means of support, whether it is for grants or such,” Cardozo said. “Are we going to be willing, then, in lieu of those proclamations, to write letters of support for those organizations?”
CAO Wayne Staudt said that if the requester is asking for a letter of support, then that could come as council correspondence and be dealt with that way.
Cardozo suggested something in the policy could be written to direct organizations looking for proclamations to instead request a letter of support.
“I would hate to turn organizations away if that is what they are looking for — that support,” Cardozo said.
Mayor Lee Pratt laid out the case for eliminating proclamations.
“What is happening is we are getting so many of these requests, they’re not really asking for support, they’re just asking for a proclamation,” Pratt said. “Basically, I think the feeling is beginning to be that there are so many of them, they don’t really mean anything. They’re not put in the paper to advertise anything.”
Pratt addressed Coun. Cardozo’s question saying if it is for a grant it would be different than just a simple proclamation.
One of the other options for a policy was to give the Mayor’s Office approval of proclamation, but Pratt said that could be seen as unfair if one is granted and another is not.
“My belief is that the proclamations, over the years and especially the last little while, it seems there are so many of them and some of them are totally irrelevant to the city and the operation of the city,” Pratt said. “I’d just as soon that we set the policy up.”
City staff noted that between June 2014 to June 2015, council approved 38 proclamations from organizations — some local, some provincial and some national.
At the June 22 council meeting, council directed city staff to prepare a police regarding proclamations. Based on the municipalities that the city looked at, the majority have policies in place.
Locally, both Kimberley and Elkford have an official policy not to issue proclamations. Vernon, Abbotsford, Salmon Arm and 100 Mile House also do not issue proclamations.
Kelowna does issue proclamations to local charities and non-profit organizations, with consideration given to provincial and national organizations if the cause is of local interest.
Fort St. John and Dawson Creek will consider requests that come from a local representative of the organization making the request.