It’s anyone’s guess whether helping hands are in their pockets or already full, said City Clerk Don Schaffer, in regard to City Council’s struggle to secure community volunteers to serve on council committees.
With 45 per cent of Prince George’s population volunteering at some capacity, the city is well above the 35 per cent provincial average for volunteerism. Yet council is having difficulty finding interested community members to sit on committees and participate in city development.
“The Community Heritage Commission hasn’t met for a couple of years because it doesn’t have a quorum,” said Schaffer, adding that in the past, they have had to turn people away when they put out a call for people to serve on limited task forces.
“I don’t know if there is any less interest. It’s tough to say whether it is a long-term commitment issue or not.”
Councilor Murry Krause hazards a guess that the deficit of volunteers is likely because their is a giant pool of volunteers in the community who already have their hands full.
At a council meeting earlier this month council moved to look at ways to connect more with the community and generate greater interest in participation on municipal boards and committees.
“We are really looking for people who have a sincere interest in a particular committee and encourage them to get their resumés into City Hall,” said Krause.
“We know there are lots of people out their who give up their time and do volunteer work. I don’t think the problem’s lack of interest in the community but we need to do more to be proactive and reach them.”
There are currently openings on the Advisory Design Panel, Community Heritage Commission, Family Court/Youth Justice Committee, Intercultural Committee, Social Grants Advisory Committee, Special Needs Advisory Committee and the Winter City Committee.
Successful applicants would attend a meeting once a month a minimum requirement of an hour and half of their time a month but Schaffer said it is up to the individual just how involved they want to become or whether they want to participate on committees and specific task forces.
The committees serve to provide information and advice to council, to raise awareness on issues and create recommendations for consideration by council and city staff.
The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Friday, April 4, 2003.
Applications are available at City Hall or on the City’s web page at www.city.pg.bc.ca.