Mayor Dan Curtis sits alone at the councillors table during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14. Two more councillors returned to chambers for the May 11 meeting as the city looks to return to normal. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse city councillors are returning to council chambers

Councillors Dan Boyd and Laura Cabott joined Mayor Dan Curtis in-person inside council chambers for the May 11 council meeting. Attending by conference call were councillors Jocelyn Curteanu, Samson Hartland, Steve Roddick and Jan Stick.

“It’s nice to be back,” Cabott commented during the session with Mayor Dan Curtis also stating he’s pleased to have some council members back in chambers.

The session marked the first meeting since mid-March when all but one member of council began attending meetings by conference call in light of COVID-19. The mayor (or Boyd as deputy mayor when Curtis was in self-isolation) has been on hand to chair the meetings.

The gallery inside council chambers has, and continues, to be closed to the public due to COVID-19.

Council has been raising questions with staff at recent meetings about the potential reopening of some city services and the possibility of council members returning in-person to meetings.

Officials have stated individual departments are looking at how a soft reopening of city services can start again.

In an interview following the May 11 meeting, acting city manager Valerie Braga said following council’s questions about returning to meetings, city manager Linda Rapp looked at spacing requirements inside council chambers. It was determined the city could likely add two council members in chambers for each meeting with spacing in place between all members present.

The proposal was then sent off to the office of the chief medical officer of health for the territory, which confirmed Saturday that the meetings could be held as proposed with two extra members physically present each week.

As for deciding which members would attend what meetings, Braga said the city is simply going with alphabetical order, thus Boyd and Cabbott were able to return first.

In alphabetical order, that means Curteanu and Hartland will be able to attend the May 19 meeting with Roddick and Stick to attend the May 25 meeting in-person.

Braga said the city is continuing to work on plans for council meetings after that.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

CoronavirusWhitehorse city council

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