Council meetings in Langley Township could be held electronically if the coronavirus outbreak worsens. (Langley Advance Times files)

Electronic meetings considered for Langley Township council

The coronavirus has council considering how to meet without a large gathering

Langley Township could be holding meetings electronically if the threat of further coronavirus spread persists, said Mayor Jack Froese.

Staff are preparing a new bylaw that would allow for the virtual meetings, which councillors could attend remotely. Township council meetings are usually in the municipality’s Civic Facility, but they are also livestreamed.

“Council meetings need to be transparent, they need to be seen,” said Froese.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 23, and to put the new bylaw into place would require at least a brief face-to-face council meeting to put it into action.

As of March 12, the meeting was still scheduled to take place, said Froese.

A typical council meeting will have the nine members of council, multiple senior Township staff members, and between dozens and hundreds of members of the public present.

He said hopefully, they wouldn’t have to cancel or use the distance meeting option.

READ MORE: Langley school district releases pandemic plan

There are no plans yet for electronic meetings in Langley City, said Mayor Val van den Broek.

Staff are working to put plans in place for the COVID-19 outbreak, she said.

“It’s fluid, it changes hour to hour,” she said of the situation.

Froese agreed that it’s hard to know what will happen in the near future.

“Certainly it’s changing every day,” he said. “It’s something we’re watching very closely.”

Also this week, Township council gave staff the authority to close down rec centres without requiring the approval of the council itself.

Staff can now shut down rec centres based on Fraser Health or provincial Ministry of Health directives.

“So far, nothing’s been closed yet,” Froese said.

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