Asking for questions
During the first in-person Chelsea council meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic hit over two years ago, Chelsea resident David Stockwell called for more municipal transparency.
On April 5, Stockwell was the first person to approach the microphone in the MRC des Collines council chamber during a Chelsea council meeting question period since March 2020. He asked for municipal committee meeting question periods to be posted online in the same manner as council meeting question periods.
“It’s not just important information that the answers give. It also avoids questions of the same nature from being asked again and again,” Stockwell told council during the meeting.
Mayor Pierre Guénard seemed on board with the idea.
“It’s a very good point,” he said, adding that he hadn’t thought about doing that, but will discuss it with other councillors at their next working meeting before coming back with an answer.
“If all council is in favour, we will start that,” Guénard said.
Ward 1 and 5 councillors Enrico Valente and Rita Jain did not attend the meeting. About eight people sat in the crowd, which left only five seats free because of the reduced capacity, and Guénard said that about eight people attended the meeting virtually through Zoom. This was Chelsea council’s first hybrid meeting with both in-person and virtual components.
“It’s possible we’ll encounter some glitches, but at least we’re trying to do it well,” Guénard said.
Other than the occasional issue with microphones not picking up councillors’ voices or people speaking while muted, it went off without a hitch.
Other council business:
Council unanimously approved a request for $962 from the Chelsea Park Residents Association – a neighbourhood off Hwy 5 south of Chemin Scott where home values regularly exceed $700,000 – for a mobile sugar shack supper.
Council unanimously approved a $3,000 request from the Chelsea Foundation for the installation of a “wind phone” near the l’Orée du Bois restaurant. The phone won’t be hooked up to anything, but allows people to talk through their grief to the wind.
Council unanimously awarded a $43,115 contract to SNC-Lavalin Inc. – a Montreal-based firm that was embroiled in a widely-reported scandal in 2019 – to assess the quality of municipal roads throughout Chelsea so that repairs can be planned and prioritized.