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We never expected it would happen so fast but, since March, Council’s monthly meetings have been webcast. At the same time, the meetings are being held in camera to comply with current hygiene guidelines and protect public health. It’s quite the change.

There’s something disconcerting about finding yourself alone in Town Hall’s historic Council Room on a Monday evening. No sounds, gestures or smiles. No one across the table from you, no one sitting next to you. Actually, it’s a little surreal. Waiting for the camera to roll and the webcast to begin, I wonder at how the pandemic has changed our lives. Fortunately, the camera light soon goes on, the other councillors join me online and, once under way, the meeting goes smoothly.

The setup works surprisingly well. The number of viewers is higher than the number of people who typically attend Council meetings open to the public. As you know, Council meetings are key to our Town’s functioning. That is why we try to reach as many people as possible and hear a range of opinions: in Mount Royal as elsewhere, from one meeting to the next, the challenge is to get the silent majority involved. It’s an issue every town and city faces.

Questions from the public, as well as comments and even the occasional word of encouragement, make a difference. People who normally wouldn’t go out of their way to attend a Council meeting are suddenly there with us. It’s a pleasure to know they are tuning in and even more to read what they have to say. Do you want to support one of the Town’s initiatives, share your bright ideas, get an answer to a question that’s been bugging you? Just do it! In the days leading up to each meeting, we welcome your questions and comments submitted by email to an address and by a deadline that are announced beforehand.

We still don’t know how much longer we’ll have to continue holding our meetings in camera. It will be entirely determined by the Quebec government’s public health guidelines, which we follow to the letter. However, now that we’ve discovered the advantages of webcasting, the practice may well continue after the pandemic is over.

Join us for the next Town Council meeting on Monday, June 15, beginning at 19:00 (in camera, of course). All the information needed to submit a question or comment or to view the meeting online will be posted not only on the home page of the Town website (www.town.mount-royal.qc.ca) as usual but also on the Town’s Facebook page. Mark your calendar!

Philippe Roy

Mayor

90 Roosevelt Avenue

Mont-Royal H3R 1Z5