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WN Council can’t agree on process, cancels meeting

West Nipissing Council has cancelled their  Aug. 11 council meeting.

In a letter penned yesterday, WN Mayor, Joanne Savage, shares that the meeting was cancelled after not having quorum for the August 11 meeting.

“Some council members wish to proceed strictly by telephone and some council members preferred reconvening in person,” she said. “We no longer should have to deal with sound problems, physical absences, or not seeing each other since March 2020. Since the last meeting of council, I have received several complaints regarding sound and also received enquiries of when will council reconvene in person.”

The Mayor also says that the meetings currently being conducted are not working.

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The meetings have been held remotely since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The planning board was successful in reconvening for the first time since COVID-19 on July 20th in council chambers. 5 of the 7 members (some members of Council and members at large) plus the municipal planner attended in person and social distancing was not a problem. The Council Chamber still had ample space remaining to accommodate more people without compromising social distancing.” she said.

Savage says confirmation was provided by staff that reconfiguration of the council chamber to ensure physical distancing or Zoom conferencing was viable. The assistance of the IT Manager was also made available to assist any Council member needing technical support for Zoom Conferencing if one was not comfortable to attend in person for health and safety reasons.

“As per research done many municipalities and boards are conducting meetings via Zoom Conferencing. Some municipalities are conducting meetings in person but in a different location than their council chamber to ensure adequate spacing for social distancing. Our neighbours, Nipissing First Nation recently posted their first meeting in person.” she said.

She also said that the CAO will be exploring options and hopefully assist council with solutions for the next meeting.

“Due to time constraints of staff this week, absences and personal issues, many agenda items that were scheduled to be tabled for the August 11th meeting were subject to deferral to our next meeting of Sept 1st, 2020. I hope Council, as a team, can meet in person and if unable for health and safety reason via Zoom Conferencing. ” she finished.

September 1’s meeting will feature discussion about filling the seat vacated by former Ward 7 representative Jeremy Seguin.

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