After more than a year, open forums will resume at a Saanich committee of the whole meeting on April 19 with up to five residents having the chance to speak for three minutes each about any district-related matter. (Black Press Media file photo)

After more than a year, open forums will resume at a Saanich committee of the whole meeting on April 19 with up to five residents having the chance to speak for three minutes each about any district-related matter. (Black Press Media file photo)

Public input resumes at Saanich council following lengthy suspension due to pandemic

Up to five residents can present by phone for up to three minutes starting April 19

After more than a year, open forums return to Saanich committee of the whole meetings on April 19, using a phone-in model.

READ ALSO: Saanich council temporarily suspends open forum as meetings go electronic in light of COVID-19

The public input at committee meetings was suspended in March 2020, after the province declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, other in-person meetings – including public hearings and advisory committees – were also cancelled. Those resumed in May 2020 using a phone-in model.

On Jan. 25, Saanich opted to continue conducting meetings without the public present until April 30 and instead have residents continue participating by phone and livestream.

READ ALSO: Saanich public input, hearings resume using phone-in model

At the time, council also directed staff to look at options for bringing back open forums with virtual adaptations to increase opportunities for public input.

In a report to council, Angila Bains, manager of legislative services and municipal clerk, recommended the return of the open forum where 15 minutes is allotted in the agenda for up to five residents to speak for up to three minutes each.

Those wishing to speak via telephone at open forum must pre-register by calling 250-475-5510 or emailing council@saanich.ca before noon on the day of the meeting.

READ ALSO: Saanich extends public-free council meetings into spring


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