City of West Kelowna staff have set up physically distant chairs to ensure those attending public hearings will be safe. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

WATCH: City of West Kelowna opens up for public hearings

City staff have made sure residents keep their distance to minimize COVID-19 transmission

Businesses and offices are opening up again, and that includes local governments.

The City of West Kelowna is resuming public hearings starting on May 26. The city’s chief administrative officer Paul Gipps said they haven’t had a public hearing since February.

“We’ve had a bit of a backlog and people want to get things going again, and this was a good opportunity to test this out,” Gipps said.

“We’re going to learn as we go. We’re pretty sure we have it good this first time, but we’ll take steps after if we see anything that we can improve upon.”

He said city staff took a few weeks to plan and map everything out before setting up chairs, barriers, as well as arrows to guide foot traffic around the Royal LePage Place and the city hall.

Gipps said there will be staff stationed at the entrance of the arena to guide public hearing participants where they need to go, as well as to ensure proper distancing.

“People will get checked in and if they want to speak, we’ll put their names down so we can get them in order,” he said. Residents will then be escorted to a seat in the arena, where they will be able to watch the proceedings from a screen.

Those who want to speak will be called up when it’s their turn to speak. Speakers are guided through city hall, where they can speak to Mayor Milsom in person, with the rest of council tuning in via Zoom.

Currently, only 40 people are allowed in the arena for public hearings. If you want the council to hear from you but there are no spaces, Gipps said residents are encouraged to email them.

If you want to watch the public hearing from home, you can do so here.

READ: North Westside residents shocked at fire chief’s suspension

READ: Trafficking investigation results in several firearms seized in Kelowna

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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