No timeline for council to return to in-person meetings

It might be awhile before Brock Township council moves back to in-person meetings.

Members have been meeting virtually since the COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in mid March – and it’s likely going to stay that way for the time being.

In an interview, Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden said she was in “no rush” to return to the traditional meeting format and noted that there is no currently timeline for the municipality to do so.

Her colleagues echoed that sentiment for the most part.

“I’d be happy to go back to in person meetings. I think we can do so while maintaining a safe distance. But the flip side is that we continue to do effective business through virtual meetings, so I understand why we haven’t rushed back to being in the council chambers,” said Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble.

“The one downside is no deputations and no public questions and clarifications.”

Ward 1 Councillor Mike Jubb agreed, saying that he’d like to see more public engagement in the online sessions.

“Until there is a vaccine, I don’t see why we have to go back to in-person meetings. It would be unneeded risk,” he added.

Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell noted that the relatively cramped quarters of the council chambers would make social distancing more than a little difficult.

“If we met in the council chambers, social distancing would be impossible if council members all sat in our usual chairs. In my opinion, it is up to the individual’s comfort level whether they choose to join a meeting in person or electronically…Members of the public, consultants, staff, etc. can join in or watch on livestream,” said Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell.

“With the danger of COVID- 19 and the threat of a second wave still lingering, we can stay safe and take care of township business – effectively and efficiently – on our computers.”

Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer said he was getting closer to supporting the return of traditional meetings, though rising COVID-19 in recent days has raised some questions.

The regular meeting schedule for council is set to resume on Sept. 21 with a committee of the whole meeting.

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