Champlain Township council has directed staff to collect information about the cost and logistics involved to allow for the possibility of in-person council meetings, at which the public is welcome, but adding a livestreaming element, the recording of meetings for posting afterwards, as well as to allow for the remote participation of councillors, consultants and township staff.

A brief discussion occurred at the township’s most recent regular meeting on May 12, 2022. That meeting was the second in-person meeting to take place since the outset of the pandemic in 2020.

There will be complexities with holding meetings at which remote participants would be interacting with those attending in person, as well as making the remote participants’ comments available to members of the public or to delegations attending in person. Township Clerk Alison Collard pointed out that there were procedural and technical aspects to consider, in particular–ensuring that the audio was available to all participants.

The move to explore hybrid meetings was proposed by Councillor Violaine Tittley. Councillors Andre Roy, Peter Barton and Sarah Bigelow agreed.

Barton said it was very important and past due that the township should find a way to broadcast its meetings. “I support the staff to come up with something to broadcast our meetings,” he said.

Bigelow agreed that the township should look at doing something, saying it would help with (public) participation.

When it was livestreaming meetings during the pandemic, Champlain Township posted them on its Youtube channel afterwards. The last regular council meeting from March 10, 2022, streamed two months ago, had 31 views. The regular council meeting from February 10, 2022 had 38 views. A public meeting related to the new development (Habitations Robert, at the time), has 203 views recorded.

The number of views per meeting range from 26 to 50 or so on average, with exceptions such as 352 views of a May 14, 2020 meeting.