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Letter: Bring back in-person council meetings

This potentially leaves council with underwhelming, unclear or misguided citizen feedback

Bring back in-person council meetings

Dear mayor and council:

I am requesting council pass a motion during its Dec. 1 meeting to re-open municipal hall to all public meetings using an in-person format.

Residents may be uncomfortable or unable — and hence not bother — to give councillors vital feedback during virtual, electronic-meeting formats such as Zoom.

This potentially leaves council with underwhelming, unclear or misguided citizen feedback about many local issues being debated.

Service B.C. confirmed to me Nov. 8 indoor meetings, including council meetings, can now be safely held with up to 50 people attending, or with a 50 per cent venue capacity. COVID-19 safeguards still include mandatory masking, social distancing and attending folks showing official vaccination passports.

In fact, this safe-venue format was announced by the province back in June, the Service B.C. agent noted.

Unlike some other municipalities, North Cowichan continues a safety policy of no face-to-face meetings, but will reconsider that policy Dec. 1, according to municipal Legislative Services’ staff on Nov. 8.

Many folks and councillors may view face-to-face feedback as the most potent, clear and cogent way to give and gather opinions and ideas during regular council meetings, public hearings, committee meetings, and during our municipal forest reserve and official community plan revisions.

Please safely, and legally, re-open our meetings to an in-person format starting next month.

Yours in community input and COVID-19 safety,

Peter W. Rusland,

North Cowichan

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