After some investigation, and discussion, Stratford city council opted to remain online for the foreseeable future.
On Monday night, city council received an update on the city hall elevator, in conjunction with a previously passed motion.
In November, after voting to stay online while they wait for the city hall elevator to be certified, a motion was passed to revisit the issue at the end of January.
The elevator has been fixed after getting damaged after a flood but it still needs to be certified before it can be used.
Accessibility rules in the Municipal Act ensure access for all citizens to city council meetings, so city council has been virtual since the damages occurred.
The update came at last night’s council meeting, though there wasn’t much of a change. CAO Joan Thompson clarified that they cannot yet provide a date on when the process will be finished.
As the report reads, in-person meetings can be held in one of the community halls at the Stratford Rotary Complex, but some work needs to be done to ensure access for the public. Staff recommend obtaining a contractor to provide a sound system and broadcasting the meeting. They estimate that would set the city back between $3,500 and $5,000 per meeting.
Additionally, staff estimate that due to the inability to rent out the community halls, they may lose out on $775 per weekday and $1,010 on Saturdays and Sundays.
Coun. Bonnie Henderson argued that although it’s important to get back in-person, she is satisfied with the process as is – to that end, she thinks that engagement with the city is better than it was before. Coun. Larry McCabe agreed.
Conversation turned to a permanent secondary location for meetings. There have been moments in the past when they have needed to cancel meetings due to elevator issues, and as Coun. Taylor Briscoe pointed out, city hall is an old building.
City Clerk Tatiana Dafoe revealed that staff will be looking into possible spaces for a permanent secondary location soon – due to other priorities the city hasn’t begun that investigation yet.
Coun. Jo-Dee Burbach made the motion to remain online until the elevator is fully operational, with all committees and subcommittees staying online but advisory committees returning to in person in March, due to them being held in different facilities.
She clarified that March will give the city enough time to secure viable locations.
The motion passed unanimously.