Smiths Falls meetings to remain online

·2 min read

Smiths Falls council is keeping its meetings online.

During a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, council discussed whether or not to continue the use of virtual participation at committee of the whole, council and committee/board and task force meetings.

Because the town is still under a state of emergency, the meetings are conducted virtually and are currently streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.

The report presented by director of corporate services/clerk Kerry Costello recommended that the meetings continue under the virtual format, even if the state of emergency the town is currently under is lifted.

Coun. Christopher McGuire recommended three measures.

The first was to post the link to the YouTube page on Facebook so people can follow the link to the live stream. As well, he recommended the videos should be labelled with what meeting it is and the date, while the third was to allow the committees to choose whether or not they will use the online format.

Costello said the first two suggestions were feasible.

"I do support continuing (using the virtual format); it doesn't make any sense to do anything different at this point, for council at least," said Coun. Wendy Alford, adding she supported the first two suggestions by Coun. McGuire.

She also had a suggestion to the report, to add minute markers through eSCRIBE for people in case they didn't want to watch the entire meeting but just a section of it.

Mayor Shawn Pankow said he is also supportive of making the meetings more accessible and has no objections to allow committees to decide whether they will meet in person or not, but added the electronic participation "has been extremely accommodating" for someone who is out of town or for people to participate from home.

According to Costello, if a committee was meeting in person it would be in the town hall building; they would need to show proof of double vaccination. However, when renovations start they won't be able to offer space for meetings in the town hall.

Costello will be coming back with an updated report at a later date and will include some suggestions recommended from Monday night.

(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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