If you plan to attend a Village of Burns Lake open council meeting, make sure that you do not check your cellphone for the duration of the approximately two-hour meeting.
This is just one of the new guidelines for the public and media that Burns Lake council has asked staff to create.
According to a village staff report, some reasons for implementing this policy include ensuring that “all recording devices are overtly displayed,” as well as “avoiding any disruptions to proceedings during a council meeting.”
Here are some of the new guidelines for members of the public and media attending these open meetings:
– While council is in session, the use of cellphones is not permitted. Cellphones are required to be switched off, or turned to silent;
– The use of flash photography is not permitted;
– Walking on council floor for the purpose of taking a photograph, recording, etc. is not permitted;
– Conversations with councillors and staff seated at the council table is not permitted while council is in session; unless attending as a delegation, speaking in the allotted public comment time, or invited to speak by the mayor;
– Conversations in the public gallery should be kept to a minimum and undertaken so as not to disturb the meeting or impede others in the public gallery from hearing;
– Audio/video recording by members of the gallery, or by media representatives is permitted during a public meeting. However, notification of the intent to record must be received by the city clerk via a form;
– Recording and/or taking photographs should not disrupt the conduct of the meeting. Recording devices and cameras must not make any noise, or block any member of the public’s view;
– Audio recording or photography must take place from fixed positions in the galley pre-approved by the city clerk. Filming will be in plain view;
– Without undermining the broader transparency of the meeting, all recording devices must be overt (i.e. clearly visible to anyone at the meeting) and non-disruptive;
– The person recording a meeting must be present at all times. Recording equipment cannot be left unattended in a public meeting.
Although the new policy also included a guideline saying that notification of recording must be made for each meeting, councillor Michael Riis-Christianson suggested that people who record meetings regularly should be able to notify the village just once a year.
Village staff will bring this policy back to council with the suggested amendment so that council can vote to approve it.