Public Notice - Meetings of Council Procedures/Public Engagement in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Public Notice - Meetings of Council Procedures/Public Engagement in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Responding to COVID-19, City Hall and its facilities are currently closed to the public, however City staff  continue to work to ensure services to Port Alberni residents continue.   During this pandemic, the City continually monitors the Province of BCs COVID-19 updates and is adhering to all Provincial directives, orders and guidelines. 

While public engagement is a key component of our governance model, COVID-19 has required us to re-evaluate how the City will responsibly continue to carry out City business during this pandemic.  The City will continue to endeavor to provide public input, engagement opportunities, and transparency through the current COVID-19 pandemic that mirror as closely as possible the City’s practices before the pandemic.

On March 26, 2020 a Ministerial Order [MO83] was issued, allowing for changes to Council meeting processes during COVID-19.  The Order and subsequent guidelines authorizes local governments to conduct meetings electronically; to have open meetings without the public in attendance; and, to provide three readings and adoptions of bylaws in one meeting.   

In order to respect provincial orders to limit public gatherings and practice physical distancing, Council will continue with its regularly scheduled meetings virtually using Zoom and meetings will continue to be live-streamed through the City’s YouTube account.

City staff continue to look at ways we can be available to, and meet the needs of the public – including opportunities to remain engaged with City Council.  In an effort to create opportunities for real-time participation, the City has established a generic email address that residents are invited to use to submit input or questions to Council.  Input for Council’s consideration may be sent in advance or during a council meeting to .  Questions sent after the start of the meeting will be presented in the order they are received. 

We have also established a means to accommodate delegations to Council electronically.  Individuals who are interested in being a delegation to Council must contact the City Clerk at 250.720.2810 or by email or the Deputy City Clerk at 250.720.2823 or by email to discuss this opportunity.  In order to accommodate delegations electronically, individuals must have the means to do so. 

The City’s various Committees and Commissions [which include Advisory Planning Commission, Advisory Traffic Committee, Alberni Valley Heritage Commission] will also continue to meet when required using electronic means.  

We will continue to keep the community up to date on all of the City’s business on our website at  Our circumstances during this worldwide pandemic are constantly evolving and we thank residents for their patience and cooperation as we navigate through this difficult time. 

For convenience, the following outlines the modifications to meeting processes that will carry on throughout the duration of the Ministry’s orders and directives:

Regularly Scheduled Council Meetings

  • Will be held using Zoom [Council and staff will participate in this manner]
  • Meetings will be live-streamed through the City’s YouTube channel [archived on the City’s website at]
  • Regular business of Council will continue
  • Other provisions of Council’s Procedures Bylaw regarding conduct of meetings will continue to apply
  • Delegation requests must be provided to City Clerk or Deputy City Clerk for consideration
  • Public Input will be received via email and will be read to Council by the City Clerk/Deputy City Clerk
  • Questions regarding the City’s business will be received during the meeting at and will be asked by the City Clerk/Deputy City Clerk in order they are submitted


  • Delegation requests must be discussed with the City Clerk or Deputy City Clerk
  • Delegates must have the means to participate electronically using Zoom
  • Confirmed delegations will be provided relevant information by the Clerks Department to join the meeting
  • All delegations must submit a copy of their presentation to the Clerk’s department by 4:00 pm the Wednesday prior to the meeting

Public Input/Questions

  • Public input for Regular meetings of council will be received via for presentation during Public Input
  • Questions regarding the business of the meeting will be received via throughout the meeting and will be posed during Question Period [note Question Period is allocated for questions only and not intended for general comments]
  • Please include name and address on questions/input for identification purposes


  • Committee of the Whole meetings will be suspended for the duration of the order
  • Advisory Planning Commission; Advisory Traffic Committee; Alberni Valley Heritage Commission will continue to be held when required using Zoom or other electronic means
  • Other provisions of Council’s Procedures Bylaw regarding conduct of meetings will continue to apply
  • Meeting agendas/minutes will be available on the City’s website at

Public Hearings  (awaiting additional guidance from the province)

  • Local governments are required to hold public hearings prior to the adoption of several kinds of bylaws including official community plans and some zoning bylaws
  • Where a public hearing is required, members of the public who believe their property may be affected by a proposed bylaw must continue to be provided a reasonable opportunity to be heard, which can include written submissions
  • Scheduling of public hearings will be considered on a case by case basis by the Clerks department and in consultation with the City Planner and subject to additional guidance being received from the province

For more information

Davina Hartwell, City Clerk
City of Port Alberni

Twyla Slonski, Deputy City Clerk
City of Port Alberni