LETTER: Council must allow physical access at meetings

We are living through unique times. We have all had to learn new ways of doing things.
Before Covid 19, I attended as many Council and Planning meetings as I could. Some of these meeting I spoke at, many I just watched politics in process. When I attended planning meetings I often knew what issue on the agenda I was going to speak to. Other times I was moved to speak because of someones elses presentation or because of the questions asked by council. I was able to fully participate in our democracy.
Lately I and many residents of Prince Edward County have not been able to participate. Technology is not perfect nor are we. I have been on the agenda to speak and was forgotten about, or the Zoom meeting was so full of static that my words were never heard.
I was at a recent meeting on Zoom and three participants who asked to speak were denied and then during the meeting they were called on to speak. Some were not prepared as they had been denied and others did not have the Zoom link so they could not. We choose to speak to Council or the Planning Committee because we have a point of view or information to share that we think is important. That right is being withheld at this moment.
There are many decisions being made that affect all of us in The County. We are being denied full participation in our democratic process. There are many conversations happening and decisions being made that affect us all and the public is not able to be involved. Technology has failed us.
Council needs to allow the public to have physical access to these meeting with masks and physical distancing measures in place or have all applications for zoning changes and major developments put on hold. We need to be able to participate fully in our democracy or it is not a democracy.
The Municipal Act tells us Municipal government is to be accountable and transparent to the public.
Currently it is not.
Dee Hazell
Prince Edward County