Motion to bring public back into Oshawa Council chambers defeated 8-3


Published February 23, 2022 at 9:37 am

As we negotiate our way through this two year-old pandemic, there are at least three Oshawa councillors who are anxious to get the public back in open council sessions.

The rest, however, are playing it cautious and want staff to write up a report first on how to implement live council meetings and/or hybrid live/virtual meetings.

The Notice of Motion to bring the public back into the chamber – or at least try the hybrid model – was first brought to council in December by Rosemary McConkey but was tabled until Tuesday’s meeting.

The motion lost by an 8-3 vote, with only McConkey, Brian Nicholson and John Neal casting votes in favour of the idea.

“So, it will be on the March (28) agenda and therefore at the earliest April before there’s any chance of live meetings,” said a frustrated McConkey. “It’s crazy how it seems no one at the City looked into this in the past year. Do they really have to figure out how to transition?”

McConkey said she also brought forward a new Notice of Motion – to be voted on at the March 28 meeting – that would take back the special emergency powers granted the Mayor and his senior staff at the beginning of the pandemic.

Most large municipalities enacted some form of emergency powers in 2020 to be able to effectively deal with issues such as requiring the use of masks inside in public places, restricting use of parks, closing city-operated recreational facilities etc. But in some cities – Oshawa included – council gave the mayor and the chief administration officer power to make decisions without having to seek council approval, though since the first lockdown that hasn’t been an issue.

Still, McConkey thinks it’s time to walk it back to pre-pandemic times and she is hopeful her motion isn’t tabled when it reaches the council floor next month.

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