Quesnel council held its first electronic council meeting Tuesday, March 31 to comply with social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic, and electronic meetings will become more common for the municipal government.
In a first for council, the City held the meeting by Zoom video conferencing technology. As City Hall is closed to the public at this time, a recording of the meeting was made available to the public through the City’s website on April 1.
Until further notice, Quesnel council meetings will be held electronically, using video and/or audio technology, to protect the health and safety of elected officials, municipal employees and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. These electronic meetings are permitted under the Order of the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General M083, which was issued March 26.
Media representatives will receive electronic invitations prior to electronic council meetings, and the draft meeting minutes and audio recording for each special electronic council meeting will be posted on the Agenda/Minutes page of the City’s website.
At the March 31 meeting, council approved changes to the City’s Council Procedures Bylaw to allow for special electronic meetings like this during a provincial and/or locate state of emergency.
Amendments approved state the member presiding at a special council or council committee meeting may participate electronically by means of audio electronic or other communication facilities if a provincial and/or local state of emergency is declared.
As well, all members of council may attend and participate in a council meeting by means of audio electronic or other communication facilities if a provincial and/or local state of emergency is declared. This applies to special closed council meetings as well.
The City must provide the electronic means for the meeting’s participants to hear, or watch and hear, each other (such as teleconferencing or Zoom), and the facilities must enable the public to hear, or watch and hear, the meeting at the specified place, such as live streaming of council meetings or a taped audio recording.
A designated municipal officer, such as the City Manager, must be in attendance for the electronic meeting, and the public notice for the electronic meeting must state how the public is able to access the electronic meeting.
Council approved first, second and third reading of the proposed City of Quesnel Council Procedure Bylaw 1889 on March 31.
The next scheduled council meeting on April 7 has been cancelled due to a delegation having to reschedule to a future meeting.