During a Zoom platform meeting held Tuesday, May 19, Williams Lake city council discussed tentative plans to start meeting in-person and open the meetings up to the public.
Council meetings have been held online due to COVID-19 precautions.
“Are we suggesting this for the next council meeting?” asked Mayor Walt Cobb.
He was told possibly that can happen on Tuesday, June 2.
“I certainly would like to be open for meetings,” Cobb said.
In a report to council, corporate office Ross Coupé and Rena Schill, legislative service co-ordinator, noted if in-person council meetings are resumed, staff will ensure that all current social distancing requirements are followed, including: adequate spacing of council and staff during meetings, signage and verbal reminders to those members of the public attending to follow applicable safety requirements, staff presence to count attendees to ensure that the gathering size does not exceed provincial limits which are currently 50 people as a maximum and closing off some gallery seats to ensure public spacing is in line with provincial requirements.
Coupé replaces long-term City employee Cindy Bouchard who retired earlier this year from the position.
Milo MacDonald, the City’s chief administrative officer, said a staff person will have to be in place at regular council meetings to ensure the numbers of people attending are kept to the maximum as set by the public health officer at the time.
Coun. Ivan Bonnell asked if the public can access services at City Hall and if hand sanitizer and other safety measures will be available.”
MacDonald said they are ready to open around the beginning of June so the City can provide in-person services for tax time inquiries.
“We’ve had some discussions about what will work best and are thinking about how we will bring the public into council chambers,” MacDonald said.
Coun. Marnie Brenner said it is ‘high’ time to get back together.
“I feel there is so much more than can be done in person, but we have to be careful,” she added. “There is so much that is unknown about the coronavirus.”
People need to be cautious and the City has to make sure there is hand sanitizer available.
“We need to be setting a good example.”
MacDonald said the newly-purchased disinfectant machine purchased by the City will used before and after every meeting.