Saanich council will be conducting some meetings electronically amid concerns about COVID-19 spreading. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich allows some electronic meetings to hinder spread of COVID-19

Goal is to ‘keep Saanich operating efficiently and safely,’ mayor says

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Saanich council suspended its rules of procedure to allow special council meetings to be conducted electronically.

During the March 16 meeting, councillors discussed contingency plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from closing recreation centres until further notice, council decided it would be best to allow virtual meetings from March 17 to July 1 in an effort to reduce the number of face-to-face encounters at municipal hall, Mayor Fred Haynes said. However, that will only apply to special meetings, Saanich will maintain council and committee of the whole meetings in the chambers.

According to a Twitter post from the District of Saanich on March 17, all public hearings, advisory committees, standing committees, board, foundation and commission meetings are cancelled until further notice.

In the chambers, councillors’ chairs and desks have been separated and other municipal meetings will be moved to larger rooms to allow two metres between each person, Haynes said. He added that only essential business items will be included in meeting agendas to reduce the number of residents and staff required to attend.

This, he explained, will allow the municipality to continue to keep the community safe while still moving forward with Saanich business.

“The key thing to do is to keep Saanich operating efficiently and safely,” Haynes said.

He emphasized that while residents are still allowed to attend meetings, they are encouraged to use other methods of participation. All meetings will continue to be live-streamed for those who choose to participate from home and residents can send emails, mail letters or call councillors with concerns.

Haynes said councillors are making the switch to phone, email and social media meetings to correspond with residents.

Upon advice from federal and provincial governments regarding large gatherings, Haynes said councillors will also not attend the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities conference in April or any other large meetings for the foreseeable future.

Saanich will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation “actively” and take necessary precautions to protect staff and residents, Haynes said.

He stressed that there is no need to panic or stockpile groceries. Haynes hopes residents will observe advice from public health, opt for phone calls to reduce face-to-face meetings and reach out to their neighbours – especially the elderly.

“We need to use our strength as neighbours to help each other out,” he said.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusDistrict of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

Indoor sites to be coordinated with Island Health, BC Housing

BC Ferries further reduces sailings in response to COVID-19

Any sailing reservations cancelled due to schedule changes will be refunded

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read