NORTH PERTH – When the opportunity arose at the Aug. 23 council meeting for councillors to request staff reports, Coun. Lee Anne Andriessen took the opportunity to ask what the next steps would be for moving back to in-person meetings.
“I’m kind of asking at this time because perhaps there should be a report about that,” she said. “I’m not sure what the next steps are to have us do that and I’m just wondering if that might be a possibility.”
Mayor Todd Kasenberg said it’s something that’s been “bandied about a little bit” and he thought it was quite appropriate to request a report from staff.
“I think there are two issues... worth our consideration so I’ll position these for you,” he said. “The first is about the resumption of council in council chambers and live audience participation… I think there is a report that could be brought forward on that.”
The second issue he raised was what to do about the vaccination status of staff, team members and councillors.
“That one of course might be a little more controversial given some of the things that have gone on lately in the public domain but it is not something that is distinct really from the issue,” said Kasenberg. “There is a tie-in. So I invite you to consider if that’s what your intent is. Is that what you are hoping for?”
Andriessen said she was just thinking a staff report would be helpful in terms of understanding what the next steps might be.
“The appropriate research could go into making that report and helping us make a decision,” she said.
“Here’s what I’ve drafted,” said Kasenberg. “Let’s see where this goes – that staff be directed to prepare a report pertaining to re-engaging with use of and attendance at council chambers for council meetings and committee meetings and further that staff prepare a report pertaining to corporate policy regarding vaccination of staff and councillors for COVID-19. Does that seem acceptable to you, Coun. Andriessen?”
Andriessen agreed with the wording.
“I’m assuming (in) the report there may be some suggested changes to the council chambers or other accommodations that might need to happen but yes, that would be great,” she said.
Kasenberg said it includes notions that staff should consult with the Health Unit for its advice. Coun. Matt Richardson wondered if there are any limitations put forward by the province that would limit their ability to meet.
“I think the staff would obviously factor in the regulations that the province has put in place and advise us what’s allowed and what’s not,” said Kasenberg. “And again, that there is an important matter of principle to consult with Dr. (Miriam) Klassen and the Health Unit team to determine what their advice is as well.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of the request for the report.
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner