Summerland’s council meetings will not move back to municipal hall in the foreseeable future. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, council meetings have been held virtually. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland council to continue online meetings

Virtual meetings remain to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

Although other municipal councils are beginning to go back to meeting in their council chambers, Summerland will continue with its virtual meetings.

During the spring, many public facilities, including Summerland’s, had been closed in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early June, the village of Keremeos reopened its facilities. In addition, the village council there is scheduled to meet in person on June 15, following multiple virtual meetings.

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Summerland council members will not return to council chambers in the foreseeable future.

“We are going to continue with our electronic meetings of council,” said Anthony Haddad, chief administrative officer for Summerland.

He added that Summerland council has protocols in place to allow for public comment during the online meetings.

Those who wish to speak to a topic on the agenda are asked to register in advance to address council.

Mayor Toni Boot said there are some concerns with moving council meetings back to municipal hall.

“There is enough room for us to meet,” she said, “but it’s difficult to limit the number of people who come to council chambers.”

Under provincial regulations, physical distancing of two metres between people is required, and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited, even if a building has a larger capacity.

While some past council meetings have been sparsely attended, certain topics have drawn significant crowds.

Upcoming council discussions will include the Summerland solar project and domestic farm worker housing. Boot said both these topics could generate significant interest from the community.

Haddad said recent changes to public meetings mean council meetings can be viewed online as they are happening. The meetings are also recorded and can be viewed later on the municipality’s YouTube channel.

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