With the upcoming first Dorset Council meeting of the year, an announcement has been made in regards to changes in the way meetings will be conducted.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Tasmania, and for the safety of residents, elected Members and staff, the ordinary council meeting scheduled for January 17 commencing at 6 pm will be held face to face at the Council Chambers in Scottsdale, however, will be closed to the public.
Mayor Greg Howard said that the decision was to ensure everyone's safety.
"About two thirds of our councillors would be in the high-risk category taking into age and existing health problems, so we want to minimise the risk for the public," he said.
"We have noticed that COVID is also causing a bit of stress for people in the Dorset area.
"I've spoken to a few business owners in the Bridport and Scottsdale areas and they have said they are having worse trading than in the middle of winter due to people not wanting to go out and risk getting infected."
Cr Howard said that those in the community still wanting to be involved in the meeting are encouraged to do so.
"We still value the public opinion on topics and we want to make sure they are still a part of these meetings," he said.
"We have reduced to having around 10 councillors at the meeting, with those who are no presenting not attending to allow for only the people that need to be there."
"We have seen lots of events and businesses affected by COVID and we just want to ensure that we keep everyone as safe as possible, but still ensure that we are able to have these meetings and discuss the issues in our area."
To ensure the public can still participate in Public Question Time, members of the public can submit questions prior to the Meeting. Questions must be received by midday on 17 January. A maximum of three questions per person can be submitted and must be accompanied by a name, contact phone or email address.
Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or be delivered to the Council Chambers in Scottsdale.
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