Qualicum Beach council will return to in-person meetings starting April 27.
Council approved staff recommendation at its regular meeting on April 6 to resume live meetings at council chambers and allow a limited number of people from the community to attend, with social distancing protocols to be followed.
“We are going to start removing every second chair in the chamber for the members of the public to see what our numbers are,” said Heather Svensen, acting CAO. “There is no requirement for checking for passports or any vaccinations. Mask wearing is not mandatory. So it’s encouraged for those who feel they want to be protected but we will not be enforcing that by any means.”
Svensen said if council is concerned about their seating arrangements, they can also add plexiglass between members of council.
“We are quite fortunate because we do have a fairly large chamber so council thus have decent space between each other,” said Svensen.
Coun. Rober Filmer raised concerns about large crowds showing up at council chambers. He asked staff how they would mitigate that situation.
“I don’t know if we can turn people away and say ‘hey you can’t be here,’” Filmer said.
Svensen said there is a TV monitor in the foyer where people can watch and listen to the meeting.
“We have now emptied that foyer,” said Svensen. “We have removed the large desk that is in the foyer so there’s area there for standing room with the sound system that will project into the foyer and the screen to see members of council.”
Svensen also pointed out the meeting will be livestreamlined and encouraged the public to watch the meeting at home if their goal is simply to watch and listen.
Mayor Brian Wiese agreed. He suggested introducing in-person meetings for committees but council agreed to have a hybrid model that would allow face-to-face meeting and via Zoom.