Strathcona Regional District board chair Michele Babchuk sits in an adjoining office to the board room during the SRD’s first publicly open meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror.

Only one attendee at Strathcona Regional District’s first public meeting since COVID-19

September meeting was RSVP only

The Strathcona Regional District’s first meeting to be held with public attendance since March only attracted one participant.

The Mirror’s representative was the only person who RSVP’d to and attended the September meeting, though eight spots were made open to the public when the initiative was announced in August. Directors and most of the staff attended the meeting remotely as they have been doing since the beginning of the pandemic. The only difference was that the board room was open to those members of the public who showed an interest in attending and that a live feed of the online meeting was made available in the board room

The meeting video was played on four large screens in the board room. Board chair Michele Babchuk sat in an adjoining room and one staff member sat inside the board room with the public. The large board table where directors usually sit was empty. Visitors were required to sanitize hands on arrival and to choose from one of eight chairs dispersed throughout the room.

The meeting agenda was short, with six items of note, including reports on past meetings, a request for comment on a project outside of SRD’s jurisdiction, planning for future meetings, third readings on bylaws introduced in August and an item of correspondence about a 2019 grant’s completion. Electoral Area D director Brenda Leigh added an item about the new Campbell River library.

The meeting was the first since March that allowed for public attendance. Previous meetings were held remotely amongst directors and uploaded to Youtube a few days after the fact. The SRD has previously said that they were making best efforts to include the public in their meetings, and that technology was proving a hindrance.

After about half an hour, the meeting was adjourned.

RELATED: Strathcona Regional District to re-start public hearings in September

Strathcona Regional District to open public meetings to public, but only eight people will be allowed to attend

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