Expanded Access to Courtenay Council Meetings

September 21, 2021

Courtenay Council meetings will have more options for public attendance starting later this month, with in-person attendance once again available, and existing virtual options maintained. This “hybrid” model will give spectators, delegates, and members of Council the choice of attending virtually or in person.

Public Hearings will remain virtual for now, with participation by telephone, web conferencing, or written submission.

Both Council meetings and Public Hearings are live-streamed on the City of Courtenay’s YouTube channel.

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the option to attend Council meetings virtually or in person will make these meetings more accessible. “Local governments across the province recognized and experienced some of the benefits of electronic participation during the pandemic, and now that we have the blessing of the province to continue these virtual options permanently, the hope is more folks will continue watching and participating in meetings in whatever way works best for them,” said Wells. “Parents won’t have to worry about childcare to watch a meeting or attend as a delegation from home, and our residents can tune into the YouTube live stream on their phones from wherever they happen to be.

“We are excited to be taking advantage of these new opportunities that are now available to us. It will also be wonderful to once again have the option for in-person attendance at Council meetings for those that wish to do so.”

The expanded participation was made possible thanks to newly granted authorities under the Province of B.C.’s Bill 10-2021. Public attendance at Council was prohibited starting in March 2020 under the authority of Ministerial Order No. M83/2020 and more recently M192/2020 and the Class Order on mass gatherings.

As space in the Council Chambers is limited, public attendance will be on a first-come, first served basis as space permits.  There is no limit on electronic engagement and all are welcome into our virtual environment.

City staff will continue monitoring COVID-19 local government best practices on engagement and participation options now available under Bill 10-2021. Options for alternate, larger meeting locations are also being explored that would allow Council to revisit the potential for in-person attendance at Public Hearings in the near future.

Under current Provincial Health Officer Orders, masks are required in indoor public settings for all people aged 12 and older, and proof of vaccination is not required for essential government activities and services, including Council meetings.

To view the schedule for upcoming Council meetings and Public Hearings, along with agendas, minutes, and video of past meetings, visit www.courtenay.ca