The village of Burns Lake’s council meetings have gone virtual due to the restrictions on gathering in indoor spaces.
The last council meeting of 2020 was held virtually on Dec.8 to ensure that everyone on the council as well as any members of the public attending the meeting, are safe and following the mandates set forth by the province.
“Due to the current COVID-19 situation, it is not prudent to meet in person. Being able to offer residents the option to join using Zoom supports open and transparent government,” said Sheryl Worthing, the chief administration officer for the village.
The online meeting was hosted with new technology upgrades that are being implemented in the village office. The OWL video system is estimated to cost less than $2,000. A video link to the council meetings will be available for whoever wanting to attend the meetings in the future, at least while the social distancing measures last.
“We have not considered putting recordings online. We are only offering live Zoom meetings at this time.Live streaming is being considered; however, Council has not made a decision,” said Worthing.
The decision to start the meetings with such an acknowledgment was long pending according to Mayor Dolores Funk and the council. In a previous meeting, Funk had said that such an acknowledgment was necessary, long over-due and would be a good step towards bridging any gaps between the village and the six First Nations. She also said that several other village councils already had such an acknowledgment process in place and while she wanted the village council meetings to start with such an acknowledgment of the traditional territories, she also wanted to ensure that the language used was correct and respectful.
A similar decision was taken by School District 91’s (SD 91) board for conducting their board meetings.
Superintendent Manu Madhok for SD 91 said of this decision, “Our school district serves a large and diverse geographic region containing five distinct municipalities and fourteen First Nations, encompassing the Dakelh, Nedut’en, and Wet’suwet’en people. The importance of respectfully acknowledging the people, history and land is captured in our Strategic Plan poster and so we proudly added the land acknowledgement to our district communications. School District 91 is committed to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and this acknowledgement is just a very small, but important, piece of that work.”