Cautious council cancels meetings, citing Covid concerns

THE July 22 Derwent Valley Council meeting has been cancelled due to the unavailability of two senior staff members and an elected member who are isolating themselves due to COVID-19 concerns. In a video posted online this afternoon, mayor Ben Shaw said the trio did not have COVID-19 but were limiting their contact with the public.

This follows the last-minute cancellation of a community forum at Granton last night (Tuesday) for the same reason. “We’ve got a couple of senior staff members [and] an elected member [who] have been caught up in the some of the minor restrictions,” Cr Shaw said. “So they aren’t being asked to quarantine, but they are being asked to limit their interactions with community and limit their interactions with public gatherings,” he said.

“We’ve made the decision today to cancel our council meeting for tomorrow night, which was our normal scheduled council meeting. We are still having that, but we are delaying that until next Thursday. We were due to have a special meeting to consider our budget next Thursday, so we’re just having our budget meeting and then our council normal council meeting straight after that next Thursday,” Cr Shaw said.

Cr Shaw said the council was mindful of protecting the community during the changing circumstances around COVID-19, which has seen lockdowns enforced in several mainland states. “We are aware that our senior staff members and our elected member are all safe. They do not have COVID-19, they don’t have symptoms, but they are being asked to limit their interactions in the community so you might see a couple of meetings being changed or postponed over the next week or so as these new COVID-19 restrictions unfold.”

Cr Shaw said anyone who wanted to attend next week’s council meetings would be able to do so. For the benefit of anyone who did not feel safe to attend the meetings, he said they would be be held in a mix of online and in-person and the audio recording would be published on the council website shortly after the meeting.

The COVID-19 caution is understood to involve the council’s general manager, one executive manager and a councillor. Cr Shaw did not say why one of the three remaining executive managers could not conduct the monthly council meeting tomorrow night.

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