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Didsbury meetings remain online for now

Health, safety at forefront: mayor

DIDSBURY – Town council had decided to continue to hold council and committee meetings through an online format until at least September.

The decision came by way of motion during the recent regularly scheduled meeting and came after administration measured the council chambers in the town office.

“There could only be a maximum of 12 members of the public (in chambers),” administration said in a briefing note to council. “Although it is likely we wouldn’t have 12 members of the public attend, we would have no way to conduct the meeting if more than that many did show up.”

Recent council meetings have been held through Zoom as part of COVID-19 prevention efforts.

Provincial Municipal Affairs officials had instructed municipalities to conduct either in-person or online meetings, not a combination of the two, council heard.

The province’s meeting procedures COVID-19 suppression regulation states, in part, that, “It is important to remember that the intent of the regulation is not to allow councils to meet in-person while barring the public from attendance.”

Mayor Rhonda Hunter said holding online council meetings accomplishes as much as in-person meetings.

“Health and safety is always at a forefront,” said Hunter. “I take administration’s recommendation. I want to be able to accommodate what is healthy and safe for everybody.”

Councillors passed a motion that all council meetings, municipal planning commission meetings, committee meetings and public hearings continue to take place using the online format until at least Aug. 25.

A timeline has not been announced for the province to change the two-metre distancing requirement, council heard.

Council passed a second motion instructing administration to bring forward a proposed budget on possible costs of reconfiguring council chambers to accommodate in-person meetings.

The Aug. 25 council meeting will be held online by Zoom.

Dan Singleton

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