It’s an “unfortunate sign of the times.”
That’s how Saskatoon’s general manager of assets and financial management described a proposed new security measure for council chambers.
Kerry Tarasoff said in the past, councillors and administration have expressed concern and become uneasy after they’ve seen people bringing large duffel bags into meetings.
Tarasoff said there hasn’t been a specific incident to date, a proposal is heading to committee asking that security visually inspect bags outside the doors as a proactive measure.
“If something did happen we would feel really bad and irresponsible that we didn’t take at least some kind of measure to make council chambers a little more safe,” Tarasoff said.
Bag checks are nothing new in other Canadian municipalities. In fact, some have taken things even farther with the installation of metal detectors outside meeting room doors.
Tarasoff said he doesn’t think Saskatoon is at that stage just yet.
“This is just kind of a moderate measure just to provide a little bit of assurance and a safe environment for council to work in.”
The proposed bag-checking policy goes to the Governance and Priorities committee for review on Monday. Council will be asked to endorse the security measure at its next regular meeting Sept. 24.
If the stamp of approval is given, residents should be prepared to line up for bag checks prior to meetings inside council chambers after Nov. 1.