Conwy: Hybrid meetings put on hold

  Posted: 14.09.21 at 15:08 by The Editor

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Town councillors will attempt to return to the Guild Hall for meetings once Conwy County Council’s safety advisor agrees it is safe enough.

Conwy Town Council had planned to return to the Guild Hall for a hybrid meeting last night, meaning some councillors would attend in person and others by Zoom.

But Conwy County Council’s safety advisor advised against their decision, and it was agreed the meeting would be Zoom only.

Last night the matter was rediscussed, and it was decided councillors would return for hybrid meetings as soon as it was deemed safe.

Cllr Helen Roberts said: “I’m happy to Zoom, just for now. I have to say I know more people with COVID now than I have during any time during the pandemic.

“I’m really concerned about us rushing back now with the way things are moving.”

Cllr Joan Vaughan added: “I read somewhere that the Government and the Welsh Government have put out guidance on hybrid meetings, encouraging us to go forward with them.”

Cllr Goronwy Edwards said: “I think we need to pursue the ability to hold hybrid meetings, and I would like to hope we can hold those sooner, rather than later.”

He added: “I think it can be done. It is all about managing the circumstances.”

Cllr Emma Leighton-Jones raised the issue of ventilation in the Guild Hall’s chamber, pointing out the room didn’t have windows.

“The issue we have with regard to the Guild Hall is about ventilation,” she said.

“That’s a real issue. If you look at the hybrid meetings the county council are looking at, they’re in well ventilated rooms, and when I say that, they actually have a ventilation mechanism in place.

“We don’t have that in the Guild Hall, so I think that is a cause for concern as far as a risk assessment is concerned. We don’t even have windows that open in the chamber, although it is a very high-ceilinged area, and that ventilation for that amount of people is quite problematic.

“Same as Cllr Helen, I now know more people that have COVID than previously, so it’s still out there. It’s something we need to be wary of.”

Cllr Sian Grady added, “As much as I hate Zoom, and it’s taken about 15 minutes to get on it tonight, I just think there’s so many people with it (COVID) around us. I’ve had five phone calls today from people who know somebody who has got it, and I just think we need to wait for a few weeks and see what happens next because it seems to be worse than ever.”

Cllr Joan Vaughan said she attended an education scrutiny committee where it was discussed that all schools would be given funds to buy ventilation equipment. Cllr Vaughan asked if the council could consider this.

Cllr Shari Barber-Bailey raised the question of buying equipment to ventilate the chamber, but Cllr Collette Ryan said other organisations and workplaces didn’t have that equipment and questioned the ethics of such a decision.

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