Councillors and the mayor listen to a delegate during a city hall meeting in Whitehorse on June 17, 2019. At council’s Feb. 1 meeting, a recommendation was brought forward that would allow for delegates to speak before council once again, but by phone instead of in person. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Councillors and the mayor listen to a delegate during a city hall meeting in Whitehorse on June 17, 2019. At council’s Feb. 1 meeting, a recommendation was brought forward that would allow for delegates to speak before council once again, but by phone instead of in person. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Finding new ways to address city council

Delegates may soon be using new platform to reach council members

Whitehorse residents may soon be able to more directly address Whitehorse city council.

At council’s Feb. 1 meeting, a recommendation was brought forward that would allow for delegates to speak before council once again, albeit by phone.

The change comes after COVID-19 saw a temporary end to in-person delegations. Prior to COVID, residents were able to speak directly to council at a council meeting or during public hearing or input opportunities on various issues. With the public no longer admitted to council meetings due to COVID, an alternative has been provided allowing delegates to make written submissions to the city that are then read into the record at the meeting.

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, brought forward a number of changes to the temporary meeting practices that have been established under COVID.

The biggest change would provide delegates with an opportunity to address council via the GotoMeeting audio platform. To speak as a delegate, residents would be required to register by noon on the day of a council meeting and connect to the meeting via the platform by 5:20, 10 minutes before council’s weekly meetings begin.

As Constable explained when questioned by Coun. Samson Hartland, it took some time to find the right system for the city that allows for a moderator to prevent “Zoom bombers” as other municipalities — such as Juneau, Alaska — have seen in allowing delegates into meetings via online formats since COVID began. Efforts are underway in Juneau to address the situation with changes to how meetings are run and officials looking at options for legislation that would prevent such situations.

While a number of council members appeared pleased to have an option that would allow delegates to address council directly, they also indicated they would like the option for written submissions read into the record to continue.

As Hartland pointed out, the audio option may not work for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

There could also be others in the community who may prefer the option of written submissions for various reasons, it was noted.

Coun. Steve Roddick commented that having written submissions read into the record has been a positive development out of the changes established due to COVID.

“I see the benefits,” he said, describing it as a more inclusive option.

Constable explained that the call-in option was explored and is being proposed as council had indicated it wanted more direct interaction with delegates.

While the proposed changes would remove the provision to read written delegate submissions into the record, Constable noted council can bring forward amendments that would allow for that to continue.

Roddick also wondered about allowing public access to council and administrative roundtable meetings that are held to discuss issues in more detail prior to them coming forward to council.

Currently, the public is not permitted in the heritage boardroom at city hall where the meetings are held due to space restrictions under COVID regulations.

Constable said city staff have not looked at the possibility of having the public attend virtually or by phone.

Along with allowing delegates to address council via the GotoMeeting platform, there would other changes made to the temporary meeting practices to reflect that all members of council may be present and physically distant in council chambers or participate by teleconference.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the mayor or presiding council member for the meeting attended while other council members phoned into the meeting.

That remained in place until changes were made inside council chambers to ensure distance between members, who have been attending meetings in-person for some time.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the changes Feb. 8.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Whitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read