A Vancouver city councilwoman says it is time for her colleagues to return to city hall for in-person meetings.
Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung is pushing for a quick return to the council chambers and plans to attend all future meetings in person, even if they are still officially held virtually.
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“Our schools are back, our colleges are back, our restaurant servers are working, our community center and library center workers are there, and our small businesses are back to work, so I don’t see why the advice should be. different, “he said. Global news on Sunday.
The Vancouver city council has been meeting electronically since June 2020, under an in-person meeting exemption granted by the Provincial COVID-19 Measures Act.
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That authorization will expire on September 29, although a proposed change of city statutes it could allow future meetings to continue with councilors, staff or the public attending virtually, or under a hybrid system.
Kirby-Yung pointed to other Metro Vancouver councils, such as Surrey and Richmond, that have found safe ways to return to meetings in person.
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With other sectors finding safe ways to return to work under the provincial health official’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, there is no reason why the Vancouver council couldn’t do the same, he argued.
“[Virtual is] It’s not the same as when we meet in person, a lot of that interaction is lost, ”he said. “I think people want to see their elected representatives there, doing their job.”
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Global News solicited comment from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s office on Kirby-Yung’s push to bring councilors back to city hall.
Former councilman George Affleck said the virtual model has been plagued with setbacks and discourages public participation.
“(It’s) so bad for democracy, so bad for information, just bad at all levels,” he said.
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“They can’t keep this terrible digital platform going, it’s not working, they need to come back in person, they need to start doing their job, making decisions in person so people can hear and see it.”
He said he felt city staff were being “too cautious” in recommending the proposed statute change.
Under the current model, members of the public can participate in council meetings by phone or in person at city hall.
The Council is scheduled to review the proposed bylaws changes as its first order of business on Tuesday.
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