Saturday, February 27, 2021

Online Council meetings likely for the rest of the year

Municipality of Chatham-Kent Council has not met for a face-to-face meeting at the Civic Centre since the middle March.

They have been instead meeting electronically throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don Shropshire, the chief administrative officer in Chatham-Kent, said last week he expects this online trend to continue, at least until 2021.

“The plan is that for the foreseeable future, at least until the end of the year, we are still planning on having our online Council meetings,” Shropshire said during a press conference held on Skype.

“Like everything else in terms of how we’re doing business, that is going to be a constant refresh or looking at how things change with respect to the social distancing requirements etc.”

Shropshire added: “As we start to see numbers climb across the Province for (COVID-19) infection rates, the Province has also been indicating that they are going to double down on some steps to try and make sure that we mitigate the effect of a second wave.”

Chatham-Kent’s CAO said some “informal polling” has been completed with members of Council to discuss the issue.

“Council believes, although they would prefer to be in Council Chambers for many reasons, the current system is working, it’s safer, it accommodates all of the requirements for doing Council business,” Shropshire said.

“So for the foreseeable future, we believe it’s safer and more prudent just to stay where we’re at. We’ll be re-looking at that into the New Year. For now, we’re planning on staying in virtual mode.”

Dr. Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said staff is still “absorbing” the legalities surrounding the indoor limits for organized meetings.

“Obviously, there would more than 10 people at Council, but it is probably still legal to meet as long as physical distancing and order are maintained by the organizers,” Dr. Colby said.

“For the next while at least, the plan is to keep it electronic because it just avoids all of these problems.”

Chatham-Kent’s next electronic Council meeting will be held on Monday, October 5, 2020.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can be LIVE streamed, here.

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