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MD of Bonnyville schedules virtual open house

After having to cancel the MD of Bonnyville's Nov. 6 open house in town, council decided to reschedule an online event on Nov. 18 to hear feedback from residents about their proposed 2021 budget
MD of Bonnyville council rescheduled their 2021 budget open house to a virtual event on Nov. 18. File photo.

BONNYVILLE – Residents of the MD of Bonnyville will have the chance to participate in the municipality’s budget open house from the comfort of their homes.  

After having to cancel their Nov. 9 open house due to the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions in place, council passed a motion to host a virtual event on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.   

CAO Luc Mercier noted the finer details of how the event will be laid out are being worked on.  

“To be completely transparent, council’s mandate was to get input from our residents prior to the adoption of the budget,” he said during council’s Nov. 12 regular meeting. “It’s my recommendation that the budget is still on target to be approved in December. If we wait any longer than that, it becomes onerous to get tenders out. We’re already trying to get things out as quickly as possible so if we wait any longer, it could cause us struggles.”  

Council wondered why a regular open house wouldn’t be possible if coronavirus protocols were put in place, including mandatory masks and hand sanitizer being made available. Mercier reiterated it wouldn’t be possible.   

“If you’re going to have a meeting such as a presentation in a theatre or at a conference where you’re presenting, you can have up to 15 people indoors,” he stressed. “If you’re having a type of meeting where people are talking back and forth, you’re down to a 15 (person) maximum. Even if you meet all the social distancing, you’re not able to do this.”   

Reeve Greg Sawchuk added, “It’s strange times that we’re in and this looks like the only way around it. The face-to-face talking that we have at our open houses where people are talking (about) the boards, that’s where we get into limitations and we have nearly 15 people there just representing the MD.”  

The open house would be streamed from council chambers and gave a presentation outlining the 2021 budget. For those looking to get a closer look at the projected numbers, the documents are available on the MD’s website.  

Residents will have the opportunity to send in any questions or comments they have either through an online or phone option.   

The municipality was able to host two open houses in person before the area was put under watch by the province on Nov. 6, where they were put in the hot seat by residents on Nov. 2 at the Flat Lake Hall and Nov. 3 at the Cherry Grove Hall.   

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle