Richmond stays with in-person council meetings

ARICHAT: After deciding last fall to meet in-person to begin their new term, Richmond Municipal Council will continue the practice.

During its committee-of-the-whole meeting on Jan. 11, council decided to keep meeting at the municipal building in Arichat, at least for the time being.

With COVID-19 numbers “fairly low,” locally and provincially, Warden Amanda Mombourquette said it’s important to check-in with councillors.

“We need to make sure we’re keeping the safety in mind of our staff, our council and constituents of the county as COVID continues to evolve,” she told council.

Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand said the item was added to agenda for information purposes.

“There are still municipalities across the provinces that are meeting in-person and it’s just to consider what’s going on in our surroundings,” he told council.

District 3 councillor Melanie Sampson asked if staff could reach out to Telile: Isle Madame Community Television.

“Perhaps it would be a good idea to reach out to Telile to see what kind of lead they would need to transition from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting and still be able to make it accessible to residents,” she asked. “If we see cases are climbing between now and the next meeting, that we know we have x-number of days to make a decision.”

District 5 councillor Brent Sampson requested that council reach out to municipal staff and the media to ensure everyone is comfortable with in-person meetings.

“Just because I feel comfortable with it, doesn’t mean everybody else necessarily does,” he said. “I would hope, anybody else if they have concerns, feel free to bring it up if they’re uncomfortable meeting like this because we don’t want anyone to feel pressure to do so.”

Like the district 5 representative, deputy warden Michael Diggdon agrees that council can continue to meet as they are.

“I believe we have enough room and space in here that if everyone can remain comfortable, we should have no reason to look to go virtual,” he told council.

The warden added that council will “continue to assess going forward.”