Since June 1st, the RM has been encouraging users on their website to submit their contact information so they can be alerted to “the latest news and events, weather and emergency alert messages from Canada’s national emergency alerting system (Alert Ready).”
Problems have included; some ratepayers are not receiving notifications of a public consultation survey, not receiving notice of a municipal fire ban, the Chief of the Strasbourg Fire Department not being notified of the fire ban, and now after the Province lifted COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, clarification on public access to the meetings.
The RM has had varied explanations for the issues, insisting they sent out the survey notification and couldn’t be responsible if people don’t open it. They also have said there never was a notification for the fire ban sent out by the system.
Late Monday afternoon, CAO Brandi Morissette responded to questions about access to the next day’s council meeting, saying,
“The Regular Meeting of Council will be held in person in the Council Chambers tomorrow, July 13th, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. The gallery is invited to observe the meeting from the basement as previously done before the COVID 19 pandemic.
The RM will no longer be streaming our meetings on Zoom now that the Province has lifted the public health orders. The RM office is not requiring masks to be worn, but visitors may do so if they like. Hand sanitizer is still available at the front of the office.”
Responding to why the public hasn’t been notified of the change, she said,
Members of the public attending the meeting will watch the proceedings via video feed to a screen in the municipal office’s basement.
A local Facebook page that is critical of the RM, McKillop Taxpayers Network, posted Monday morning about concerns to the RM’s transparency moving away from public access to meetings via Zoom, saying, “What is the difference between streaming meetings to the basement or zoom for public gallery? Council does not want to make it convenient for the ratepayers and the public!”
Tuesday’s agenda shows that council will bring important matters to the table, including the first readings of 14 zoning bylaw amendments, the first reading of the traffic regulation bylaw and the third and final reading of the proposed mill rate and minimum tax bylaw.
Jennifer Argue, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Last Mountain Times