While the public is able to view Summerland’s municipal council meetings online, council chambers are not yet open to public attendance.
Since March, 2020, the meetings have been closed to the public in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, council members used the Zoom platform to meet from their homes. Today, most members are present in council chambers for the regular and special council meetings.
Graham Statt, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said the meeting space has been reconfigured to allow for physical distancing between council members and staff in attendance at the meetings. As a result, there is not enough space to accommodate members of the public.
Statt added that this is a transitional phase, and when all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the meetings can be opened to the public once again. However, there are no plans to reconfigure the meeting space in the short term, Statt added.
At present, if there is a contentious or controversial item on the agenda, a public meeting could be held in a larger space. This happened in July, 2020, when a meeting on the solar energy project was held in the Summerland Arena Banquet Room.
Elsewhere in the region, Penticton’s city council is in the process of opening its meetings to the public once again, with the July 20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
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