Title and statement of responsibility area
City Council Special Committee minutes
General material designation
- Textual record
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- Source of title proper: Title based on contents.
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1890-1997; predominant 1890-1916, 1930-1959, 1975-1996 (Creation)
- Vancouver (B.C.). City Council
Physical description area
5.37 m of textual records
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The 1886 Act of Incorporation of the City of Vancouver provided for ten Aldermen and a Mayor to form the Council. Aldermen were renamed Councillors in 1992. The broad function of Councillors, as direct representatives of the public, is to participate in the governance of the city through Council and its various Committees, Boards and Commissions. As members of Council, they propose by-laws and resolutions, consider and vote on all matters governed by the Council, and generally bring public and political concerns to the decision-making process. In carrying out these responsibilities, Councillors have no authority as individuals other than those powers delegated by Council as a whole. An example is the appointment by Council of one of its members as Deputy Mayor. Until 1936, Councillors were primarily elected under the ward system, in which Councillors were representatives of their respective wards. Since 1936, they have been elected in the present "at large" system. The nature of Councillors' duties have also changed over time. Before 1956, they were involved in all aspects of the governance of the City, including its daily operations. Since 1956, when the Committee structure of governance was abolished and a Board of Administration was established in their place to manage all operations, Councillors have become more involved in policy development and deciding long term goals for the city. They have also had the opportunity to specialize in their own areas of civic interest.
Under the Vancouver Charter Council has authority to delegate its executive or administrative powers to any committee comprised of members of Council or employees of the City. In many respects the "special committees" established during their particular periods indicate the issues or administrative trends of their day. For example, from 1930 to 1959 Council struck a very large number of special committees for brief periods to carry out a wide variety of activities, while more recently, since about 1975, special committees are fewer and generally remain in place for a number of years. Special committees have been assigned power to act or charged with reporting and preparing recommendations for Council. During 1930-1959 it was particularly common practice to also consider the following types of groups "special committees": ad hoc subcommittees of standing committees, working groups of senior staff who submitted reports (and sometimes recommendations), and small delegations of Council members in search of information or to communicate with higher government offices. Special committee memberships have varied widely, including many combinations of Council and/or City staff, private citizens, and members of outside organizations.
Official custodian was the Office of the City Clerk
Scope and content
Series consists of minutes of special committees, boards, commissions, task forces, and of other "non-standing" committees of Council (although there is flexibility about what differentiates special and standing committees or what defines a special committee during some periods). The earliest minutes consist of nine bound volumes of "Special Committees" (1890-1891, 1930-1948) and "Traffic Commission" (1929-1948), prepared in Council minutes style, and numbered volumes 66-74, a continuation in the numbering of series 33 (Standing committee minutes). 1892-1929 and 1960-1974 special committee minutes appear not to have been kept as a separate recordkeeping unit, but were frequently quoted verbatim within Council minutes (series 31). 1930-1948 minutes in the bound volumes and 1949-1959 minutes are arranged by year, often with minutes of various committees interfiled (with the exception of the Traffic Commission which is a separate set). Files dating from 1975 are also arranged by year and therein alphabetically by committee name.
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MCR 2-66 to 2-74
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File list available. For the 1890-1948 volumes numbered 66 to 70 there is an additional listing of all the committee minutes contained in a volume; available in hardcopy in the Reading Room inventory.
For the most substantial set of special committee minutes see series 31 (Council minutes, 1886- ), though they are widely dispersed among the City Council minutes and not always included; for access to special committee minutes within series 31 consult series 32 (Council minutes indexes, 1886-1988) under committee topic (e.g. "Market" or "Exhibition" for "Market and Exhibition Committee"). Also related are: series 27 (Special committee supporting documents, 1930-1988) and series 20, Subject files, 1886-1975, containing numerous "special committee" files dated 1920-1975. (Please note that as of 1999 all special committee minutes "marked copies" will be interfiled with series 62, Clerk's "Operational subject files - including Council supporting documents", 1975 to within 15 years from the present).