Council lifts moratorium on committee and advisory body meetings

Meetings to be done by electronic means and streamed to provide transparency for the public

North Cowichan council discussed resuming committee and other advisory body meetings via electronic means during its regular council meeting Wednesday, May 20.

In March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, council had directed staff to put a moratorium on those types of meetings. However, in order to continue moving forward with council business and key projects like the Official Community Plan engagement, committee and advisory body meetings need to be resumed so council decided to lift the moratorium.

All of those meetings will be held electronically to ensure they are done safely, and will be streamed to provide transparency to the public.

However, per the usual policy pertaining to committee meetings, the video stream will not be archived, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring pointed out.

Also on the agenda, council rejected a motion to reconsider its March 4, 2020 decision to endorse the BC Energy Step Code Implementation Strategy.

“This means, in effect, that the original decision has been reaffirmed, and staff will now move forward with the preparation of a report on the specifics of the implementation of this program,” Siebring explained.

Council considered a request from the hospitality sector – including restaurants, bars, craft breweries, and winery tasting rooms – asking for flexible, innovative, and expedited patio permitting in order to help foster economic recovery post-COVID-19.

“Many of these businesses will have to rely on expanded outdoor seating to safely open their doors and welcome guests and tourists alike,” Siebring observed.

Council agreed to support the hospitality industry by directing staff to expedite requests for patios and other outdoor expansions.

The next regular council meeting will take place electronically on Wednesday, June 3 at 1:30 pm.

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