Parksville council has made the move to resume in-person meetings as of June 1.
The motion was brought forward by Coun. Doug O’Brien. It reads that council will return to the forum on June 1 for their regular meeting, with social distancing protocols in place, as well as with a limited number of public attendees being allowed in.
It passed with everyone voting in favour, except for Coun. Marilyn Wilson.
Wilson said she thinks the move is premature and pointed to the fact that she has been following strict social distancing and isolation because of her age. She said she’s not sure when she would feel comfortable with the move, but that that time is not now.
“It will add an unnecessary risk for germs to spread to higher-risk individuals,” she said. “I definitely don’t think right now the public should be in the forum yet, I think I’d rather see this phase in a little more slowly.”
It was pointed out that council members, excluding the chair, are already allowed to participate electronically, but that there could be technological challenges if multiple council members participated remotely.
There were discussions around facemasks and screening – Coun. Adam Fras brought up the idea of people using the self-assessment tool before entering the forum.
Ultimately, most members of council felt that it was time to get back to in-person business. After talks around potentially moving the meetings until mid-June, Mayor Ed Mayne said he didn’t think holding off for a couple weeks would make a big difference.
“Eventually, we’re going to get there and the world isn’t going to be that much different between now and then,” said Mayne. “So I think we’ve got to pull off the bandaid and get on with it.”