No live council meetings in Petrolia yet; Loosley says it would be too costly

510

It will be another month before Petrolia council considers meeting in person.

Since the pandemic, municipal councils across the country have met electronically and many like using the technology.

Loosley told council the electronic meetings will continue this month at least saying it would be too costly to open up the theatre for a physically distanced council meeting.

“If we ever had to use the theatre upstairs, we’d have to move the sound systems, the cleaning bill would be horrendous, as well as trying to confine people to getting in and getting out,” he says.

Staff estimate cleaning the theatre would cost between $200 and $500 per meeting. With up to seven meetings left that would be between $1,400 and $3,500.

Several councillors said the electronic meetings are handy. Councillor Grant Purdy said he has been able to attend some meetings he normally wouldn’t. During the Sept. 14 council meeting, Purdy could be seen at the beginning of the meeting driving his car.

Two municipal councils are meeting in person regularly in Central Lambton, Oil Springs and Petrolia. Dawn-Euphemia will hold an in person planning meeting Monday night at the Florence Community Centre. Plympton-Wyoming also held an in person meeting at the Camlachie Community Centre last week.

Lambton County council will consider when to restart in person meetings at its October meeting.

Meantime, Petrolia councillors approved a meeting schedule for 2021 at Monday night’s meeting. It plans 17 meetings of council throughout the year. A special budget meeting is also planned In 2020, there were 18 council meetings, although officials say one was cancelled. That compares with nearby Enniskillen council which meets twice per month throughout the year and Plympton-Wyoming which has bi-weekly meetings and additionally planning meetings each month.

Loosley tells The Independent while there are several months where council meets only once, there are good reasons for that including conferences which councillors attend.

There is one meeting a month in January, February, March, July, August, November and December.

Loosley adds he can call additional meetings if it is warranted.