Please note meeting date: Thursday, January 18.

Last year, I encouraged you to bring popcorn; this year Mayor Sue McKortoff said you could.

She was only joking, of course, but her enthusiasm highlights what might be the among the best grassroots opportunities for Osoyoos residents to engage in an official way with their elected council.

The event is January 18’s Special Open meeting to be held at Town Hall Council Chambers beginning at 7 p.m.

The special session is a chance for Osoyoos residents to bring pet projects — and peeves — to Council’s attention, explain why their concern is important and ask Council to throw a little money their way as it finalizes the Town’s 2018 operating budget and updates its five-year capital plan.

The caveat is that you register prior to the meeting’s 7 p.m. start — there’s a sign-up sheet for that — and you take no longer than five minutes to make your presentation.

“Sometimes people come up with really good ideas,” said Mayor McKortoff. “Sometimes it’s not something we can deal with, legally or responsibly, as Council. But we’re willing to listen. We’ll take it under advisement and see how it fits into the budget.”

The evening is one of her favourites — although it will take away from her bridge night.

“If you’d like to bring the popcorn that will be fine with me,” she quipped.

Last year, a dozen spokespeople made the most of their five minutes to make (sometimes impassioned) pleas for causes, efforts and concerns they hold dear.

The list included everything from pickleball and playground funding to help with classic car, medieval and Canada Day events to a request to review sewer and drainage issues on Harbour Key Drive.

The Osoyoos Airport Development Society showed up looking for Town help to get its improvements off the ground.

The information shared is folded into Council’s budget deliberations. But presentations also build awareness and occasionally result in additional recognition and help.

Last January, for example, the Osoyoos Childcare Centre asked for funding to resurface a playground for its facility. Not a day later, the Spirit of the Game Society stepped up with the money needed to cover the project.

“It was unanimous,” said Spirit of the Game chairman Mike Campol of a decision his board made the morning after the request was made to Council. “We were in a position where we could do it, so we did.”


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