Summerland council has been holding virtual council meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The online meeting structure is resulting in changes to the council procedures bylaw. (YouTube photo)

Summerland amends procedure for virtual council meetings, adding transparency

During COVID-19 pandemic, meetings have been held using online technology

As physical distancing directives continue to keep people separate, municipal council members are coming together using virtual online meetings.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Summerland council has been holding its meetings using the Zoom platform and presenting them as livestream videos. This began with the May 11 council meeting.

Initially, under the province’s original Ministerial Order M083, members of the public were encouraged to provide written comments, but there was no option for in-person representation to council.

In addition, reports to council were for essential items only.

However, as physical distancing directives and prohibitions on mass gatherings continue, the province has updated its order for virtual council meetings.

READ ALSO: Summerland to offer livestreaming of council meetings

READ ALSO: COVID-19 prompts closures in Summerland

The more recent Ministerial Order M139 allows the municipality to conduct public hearings electronically.

“There is a real bonus here for increase public participation, which translates to increased transparency for people who are physically unable to attend our meetings,” said mayor Toni Boot.

She added that having the meetings available online as they are happening could reach a larger segment of the public.

During the most recent public meeting on May 25, only 10 people were watching the event as it was happening.

However, Boot said the online access provides greater opportunities to view and participate in the council meetings.

At the May 25 council meeting, council voted to receive a report on electronic meetings and council procedures for information. In addition, an enhanced public policy process and council correspondence process were approved.

The amendments to the council procedures bylaw will come back to Summerland council for consideration.

While the COVID-19 has prompted the shift to virtual council meetings, members of Summerland council expect the changes to meeting structure could continue after the pandemic is over.

“The world’s going to be changed when this is all over,” said Coun. Richard Barkwill.

Boot said future council meetings could have an opportunity for public comment by telephone or online communications as well as in-person comment.

“I would love to continue to see the opportunity for people to participate, even when they are not in the gallery,” she said.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusMunicipal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Guerrilla Gigs replacing Streetfest this summer in Revelstoke

Buy one of 30 tickets the Sunday before the Wednesday show

UPDATE: Trans-Canada Highway open to single-lane traffic west of Revelstoke due to flooding

The highway between Revelstoke and Golden is also open again

Mt. Revelstoke summit and back country closed to dogs permanently

Dogs allowed on-leash only in some other areas

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for July 2

Items from Revelstoke newspapers, as gleaned and edited by Cathy English, curator… Continue reading

Heavy rain in Okanagan results in slowest start to fire season in four years

119 hectares of land burned so far this year, compared to 991 ha in 2019, and 3,835 ha in 2018

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

Noose graffiti not tolerated by Vernon resident

Woman, son paint over hateful image painted on neighbourhood fence

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Most Read