Bega Valley Shire Councillors are returning to regular face-to-face meetings as the valley approaches a year without any local COVID-19 cases.
The move to bring Councillors together for their regular ordinary meetings comes as amendments to the Local Government Act bring an end to remote meetings held online.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Cr Russell Fitzpatrick said the amendments will introduce a welcome change to meeting with Councillors in a virtual world.
“While we did what needed to be done in maintaining distancing measures during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it comes as a relief to know that public health laws will now allow Councillors to meet face-to-face,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“This means a return to one-on-one debate, public forums and the reopening of the public gallery at the Council Chambers.
“These amendments are, however, subject to physical distancing requirements and any Public Health Order in force at the time. COVID-19 is still very much with us as a society and we must always be responsible and vigilant for the wellbeing of our community.
“We welcome the community back to our Council Chambers on our next ordinary meeting date, which is Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 2pm.
“Time spent in the digital world during the lockdown period has, however, given us capacity to continue using technology where appropriate.
“For example, public presentations made during non-Council meeting days will continue to be made online, and public forum presenters will have the choice of speaking directly with Council or via audio visual link.”
Council meetings will continue to be livestreamed upon resumption of face-to-face ordinary meetings. To view meetings online and learn more about attending or presenting at a meeting, visit Council’s website.
The period for a Council meeting to be held fully online ends on 25 March 2021. For the full list of Local Government Act amendments, visit the Office of Local Government website.