City of Fernie council meetings are likely to move to Tuesdays to open the door to a complete relocation, with the new Mayor and Council indicating a preference for holding meetings in a larger open space to allow the public to attend in person.
At the November 21 Committee of the Whole, the council stuck to its preference to holding meetings in a space that all members of the public can physically attend, rather than the current setup where councillors and city staff meet at City Hall, members of the public can attend online, and those wishing to be in a physical location to attend can go to a second location to be ‘zoomed into’ the City Hall meeting. The existing setup is the result of practices developed over the last two years in response to provincial health edicts.
Staff said that no members of the public were treated differently and attendance was available to everyone under the current setup, but councillors re-iterated a desire for a different setup.
In a staff report, they said that the best location for that would be the Senior Citizen Drop-In Centre, across the street from City Hall on 3rd Ave – but to do that, meetings would have to be held some other day than Mondays, when the Seniors Centre is not available.
The city is yet to complete research into the material costs of moving the meeting to the Seniors Centre, but booking the location for meetings every month will cost between $450 and $500. Moving the meetings there will require investment in internet connectivity, infrastructure, and computer equipment.
Staff will bring a report to the December 12 council meeting (a Monday) on moving the meetings to Tuesdays, with further reports on relocating the meetings to come.
Currently, council meetings are held (mostly) on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, at 7pm, while Committee of the Whole meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of each month at 4pm.
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