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

Major road project in Towship of Spallumcheen starts Monday

Reconstruction and repaving of 1.4-kilometre stretch of Back Enderby Road to last until October

No abandoned Seadoo found on Coldstream lake

Vernon Search and Rescue crews and RCMP unable to find reported abandoned Seadoo on Kal Lake

Okanagan Science Centre open with pandemic safety measures

The Vernon centre has also added four new entries to its summer camp lineup

Coldstream defenceman warrants U17 camp call

Jace Weir, 16, of the Okanagan Rockets one of 113 players picked for Hockey Canada virtual camp

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Kelowna high school football star, water skier, signs with University of Calgary

Isaac Athans, and his family, have a long history of success across various sports in the Okanagan, nationally

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Most Read