Carleton Place discusses future of virtual meetings
At a special meeting of Carleton Place council on Tuesday evening, a motion was passed to continue with virtual or electronic meetings for the unspecified future.
Before the regular session of council or the committee of the whole meeting could begin, Mayor Doug Black presided over discussion on a recommendation to change town bylaws to continue meeting in a virtual manner past the province’s emergency declaration time limits.
He noted that Queen’s Park had recently changed the rules governing municipal council meetings, giving each jurisdiction the option of meeting electronically or in town hall chambers if Covid-19 protocols could be followed.
Councillor Theresa Fritz explained the challenges in holding safe risk-free live meetings in the council chambers. She noted that the layout, size, and audio equipment of Carleton Place’s chambers made it impossible to follow current public health rules. As well the town had recently moved to live-stream meetings and participating in those sessions while wearing masks would create difficulties in sound transmission via the recording system.
Moving meetings to the larger upper hall auditorium was deemed problematic due to the absence of video cameras.
Council approved the bylaw changes and virtual meetings will continue to be the order of the day until a deadline to resume live sessions is considered.