Burnaby's committees expected to reboot in June

The City of Burnaby’s various committees are expected to kick back into gear next month, as the community  gradually begins to open up.

While council meetings and the three standing committees – the planning, finance and executive committees – have continued unabated through the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissions, the select committees and the board of variance have not met since mid-March.

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That’s expected to change next month, with eight new meetings scheduled between June and July.

If the plan is approved by council, it will start with the social planning committee on June 16, followed by the parks, recreation and culture commission on Jun 17; the community heritage commission on June 18; the environment committee on June 24; the traffic safety committee on June 25; and the board of variance on June 30.

The board of variance is expected to meet again on July 9, with the parks, recreation and culture commission set to meet again on July 14 and the public safety committee scheduled for July 15.

In a report to council, staff said the committees are key to the city’s operations, offering a more meticulous look at the various challenges and potential solutions.

In the past two-and-a-half months, items that would have normally been considered by committees – which include representation from community organizations and residents with an interest in and experience with the issues discussed – have gone before council.

“The input and perspectives of resident/organizational representatives is of great importance,” staff wrote in the report.

Staff asked members of the various committees if they would like to participate in person or digitally. They received a mix of answers, which staff said made them “confident” the meetings could proceed with physical distancing in place.

Board of variance meetings will go largely unchanged moving forward, and in-person attendance by applicants and the public will be allowed because the meetings don’t tend to attract large crowds like public hearings do. However, they will include written submissions and phone participation from those who don’t want to attend in person.

The commission and select committee meetings, which haven’t typically been publicly broadcast, will be livestreamed on the city’s website so people who want to attend don’t need to physically go to the meeting.

Because of the livestream broadcast, staff suggested the meetings should all take place in the council chambers in city hall.

Staff is also suggesting moving the meetings to 5 p.m., an hour earlier than usual, to be in line with council meetings, which were also moved up in late March.

Council will vote on the matter Monday evening.

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