New Westminster city council will meet electronically on Friday – to finalize plans allowing council to meet electronically.
At a special COVID-19-related meeting on March 23, council gave three readings to a bylaw to amend the city’s procedure bylaws to allow meetings to take place electronically during an emergency. Council will consider adoption of the bylaw on Friday.
“Over the past two weeks, the province has issued a number of orders regarding local government rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a staff report. “Ministerial Order No. M083 allows for regular meetings to be held electronically during the period of the pandemic. However, since this is only for the COVID-19 pandemic, staff are recommending the changes to the procedure bylaw to enable council to meet electronically without a special ministerial order or a change to the Community Charter.”
Having gone through the required notification period, council will consider adoption of the bylaw at a meeting on Friday, April 3 at 11 a.m.
“As of the date of writing of this report, only one enquiry has been received from a member of the public. The enquiry was asking to see the proposed changes; legislative services staff directed the enquirer to the public notices page on the city's Website,” said the report. “No specific comments have been received as of the date of writing of this report.”
In addition to agreeing to meet electronically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, council also supported other staff recommendations, which were made to address concerns about public gatherings. These include suspending open delegations, public presentations and presentation of proclamations for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cancelling public hearings during the pandemic.
In response to the COVID-19 situation, council met electronically on March 30, at which time it received two reports related to the city’s pandemic response and approved several recommendations from working groups that have been formed on a variety of issues, including education and enforcement , and businesses and a working economy.
A council meeting has also been scheduled for Monday, April 6.