In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the challenges that have been created due to safety measures and physical distancing, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act (the Act). It amends the Municipal Act, 2001, by providing municipalities with the ongoing flexibility of permitting electronic participation as an option for Council and Committee meetings, beyond times when there is a declared emergency. The physical constraints of the Town’s Council Chambers does not allow for adequate physical distancing. Even with the purchase of additional portable microphones which would allow members of Council to sit further apart, the Council Chambers would still be very limited in terms of how many people could participate at or attend a meeting in this space. Also, the wearing of masks (currently a requirement in public spaces) would hinder microphone use and could potentially reduce the quality of the Town’s streaming of meetings. For these reasons, as well as the possibility of future COVID-19 outbreaks or lockdowns, Council amended its Procedural By-law 117-2018 to permit the ongoing electronic participation at Council and Committee meetings.
A Special Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18th at 6:00 p.m. with both open and closed sessions to discuss the Town’s proposed Development Charges background study. A presentation will be provided by the Town’s consultant Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. The next regularly scheduled meeting of Council and Committee of the Whole is on Tuesday, August 25th.