“For many of our employees, it’s been stressful,” Kirby said, during a phone interview December 4. “But we have managed to keep things under control.”
The pandemic also forced some changes on the way that township council managed its business. Council members tried, with varying success, to conduct their regular meetings online with municipal staff.
For most of 2020, since the start of the pandemic in spring, the public has not been able to attend or watch council’s regular sessions. The council chamber at the St-Eugène municipal office was later rearranged to allow for in-person meetings for council members and administration while still meeting social distancing demands.
Township staff continued to research a workable virtual meeting setup for council meetings, beta-testing systems for the past two months. When 2021 starts, East Hawkesbury residents will be able to watch their council at work from the comfort of their home computers.
“It should be alright,” said Mayor Kirby, about the public benefit from the new virtual council meeting setup. “I think it is a great thing, because it’s their (taxpayers) dollars that are being spent. It’s important that they get to see where it goes.”
The start of distribution of an effective vaccine and the beginning of the end of the pandemic crisis is Kirby’s first wish for the new year. His second is seeing more infrastructure improvements for the municipality, including one in particular for the Village of Saint-Eugène.”
“I’d like to get a little bit of (senior government) funding to build a new community centre or village hall to accommodate the people,” he said.