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Circumstances force Wellington North to hold meeting without public access

A procedural bylaw to be passed at the meeting allows for restricting access under a declared emergency
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WELLINGTON NORTH – The Township of Wellington North is holding a special council meeting tonight remotely but the public and press are unable to attend. 

Karren Wallace, director of legislative services and clerk for Wellington North, said this situation is unfortunate but the town needs to proceed with business. 

“We just don’t have the platform available, we’re struggling like anybody else,” Wallace said.

Wallace stressed there is nothing being discussed at the meeting beyond what is on the posted agenda. The first item on the agenda is a procedural bylaw to allow for electronic meetings. 

A provision in the bylaw also allows restricting access if necessary.

The provision reads, “Members of the public and press may be restricted from attending a council meeting called under a declared emergency to protect the health and safety of all individuals and security of property.”

Wallace said this will not be the norm and is only because of the emergency situation. 

“It is not our intent to continue without providing access,” Wallace said. “Tonight we have to get some business done and this is the only way to do it.”

Pressing business includes the procedural bylaw, tendering a few construction projects and a part lot bylaw. 

“The part lot control bylaw has been pending for a few weeks and that is holding up a real estate sale which again provides money to people in these hard times,” Wallace said. “So that’s why we’re dealing with just those specific items.”

Wallace said they were just beginning to get set-up for live stream meetings and a new council table with audio/visual capabilities was brought in the day everything shut-down. She said she understands the concerns about lack of access. 

“We understand that the press and public need access,” Wallace said. “We’re just hoping that everybody understands at this difficult time we really have to protect everybody.”

Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka covers civic matters under the Local Journalism initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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