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Brock Township implementing changes for 2022 meetings

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Township of Brock is implementing a few changes to their council schedule and meeting model.

At a meeting on Monday, November 15th, councillors saw a report regarding the 2022 council schedule.

One of the changes is in regards to meeting attendance, with the township looking at a more hybrid model.

“Staff anticipate that Council Chamber upgrades as outlined in [a staff report], which was adopted by Council on July 19th, 2021, will be completed by the end of 2021. At such time, Council meetings may be conducted in person, pending any Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The newly upgraded technology will allow for hybrid meetings wherein Members of Council and the public may choose to participate in person or virtually,” a report from deputy clerk Maralee Drake explained. “Hybrid participation will provide options in situations where inclement weather, illness or other circumstances restrict Members of Council or the public from attending in-person. Additionally, hybrid meetings present cost savings by reducing travel time usually billed for consultants and legal representation.”

The schedule also includes a change to their evening meeting time. The last meeting of every month will occur at 6 p.m. rather than 5 p.m. “I do believe it is more accessible to our general working population [that way],” Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble said.

Quarterly ‘workshop’ meetings have been added to the Council’s 2022 schedule.

“These workshops will allow Council to have an open dialogue with staff without the need to come to an immediate decision. Workshop topics may focus on key strategic priorities such as arenas, development charges, by-law enforcement, master plans, etc. Senior staff will collaborate with members of Council to determine the workshop subject matter,” Ms. Drake’s report stated.

Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer questioned if these meetings would all be held in Closed Session.

“Workshops don’t have to be [in Closed Session]. Training sessions do not have to be [in Closed Session]. There are exemptions under the [Municipal] Act [which] allow us to [hold them in Closed Session]. But for all intents and purposes, workshops are to be open to the public,” Clerk Fernando Lamanna responded.

With a municipal election scheduled for next year, the last meeting for this term of Council will be held on September 26th, 2022. The inaugural meeting of the new term of Council is scheduled for November 28th, 2022.

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