Rental facilities in Mono to reopen in May, return to in-person meetings to be determined

March 24, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

Mono Council once again debated the proposed opening of the Town’s rental facilities, such as Town Hall and Council chambers, during a regular Council meeting on Tuesday (March 22).

Some councillors said they felt it is too soon to resume in-person Council meetings.

They did however decide that Town Hall is safe to open, though some debate occured about face masks and vaccine mandates.

It was established that both will be required for admittance to the Town’s inner offices, but the overall view of Council was that they should simply be recommended at the front counter as there is a Plexiglas shield between the masked town employee and any public member.

Signage will be on the main doors asking for mask use inside. It was felt this would avoid unnecessary confrontations at the desk with members of the public.

Masks would be made available at the front desk for those wishing one. As for rental facilities, it was eventually decided that masks and vaccines would be up to the renters to adjudicate, but that staff would be required to be masked. Staff would normally be in attendance as bartenders etc. It was also decided that the Town’s rental buildings would open on May 1, 2022.

In-person meetings

In the matter of Council Chambers, Deputy Mayor Nix asked that reopening them be delayed a month so as to evaluate the risk of another flare up due to new COVID-19 variants, recently discovered.

Mayor John Creelman, who is in favour of a return to in-person meetings, along with Coun. Sharon Martin, suggested that the decision should only be put off one more Council Meeting, or two weeks, believing that a consensus may be available by then.

Coun. Ralph Manktelow agreed that BA.2, the new Omicron variant, is more infectious and that things cannot be predicted beyond 30 days at present, but that perhaps Council should take on the risk and begin to open up.

Coun. Martin felt staff was protected well enough in Town Hall and she could see no reason why in-person meetings, without the public being present, could not happen.

She said that meeting in-person would provide a better meeting experience than the virtual format.

Coun. Melinda Davie leaned toward waiting, saying that she felt it was too soon personally but that the meetings could be a hybrid model, where those who are uncomfortable could stay at home and participate virtually.

It was at this point that Mayor Creelman suggested that although he was in favour of reopening, perhaps the decision should wait until the next Council meeting, in two weeks.

Although he was for reopening, it was important that those with doubts be heard. Thus, it was left that Town Hall and the rental locations would reopen as suggested, but the decision about Council Chambers would be delayed at least two more weeks.

Firework bylaw

Council passed first reading of the Town’s new fireworks bylaw, allowing for public input on the draft.

Coun. Manktelow brought up concerns about wildlife and possible forest fires, to which Mayor Creelman stated that he could attest to livestock being upset by the noise.

One resident even asked for an outright ban on fireworks in Mono.

Coun. Davie noted that the draft forbids fireworks in Town parks and schools but allows then in people’s backyards or gardens. She found this to be odd, as residential gardens are immediately next to each other whereas the parks and school yards are more open spaces. 

The draft also restricts displays, which many communities hold as a way to involve the residents and reduce the number of events in a community.

All these factors will be discussed at second reading following more public input, hopefully attracting a wide range of perspectives instead of hearing solely from those who propose banning them.

Fireworks are an integral part of many cultural celebrations and Mono is trying to include these cultures in their community events.

Council discussed the makeup and choosing of members of the new Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, in-camera (closed session), but did announce that applicants would make their presentations before Council on April 5 from 5:45-7:00 p.m. This is just prior to Mono’s regular Council meeting that day.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.