Sudbury

Temporary changes to service levels made during virtual Sudbury council meeting

There are some temporary changes to a few service levels in Greater Sudbury, including a change to the garbage limit at curbside and downtown parking fees. City council voted on these during its first electronic city council meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor and 9 councilliors meet electronically for regular meeting to make decisions for the city

City council for the City of Greater Sudbury met for its first virtual council meeting on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (CBC)

The City of Greater Sudbury has made a few temporary changes to service levels, effective Wednesday, as the community deals with the health crisis and the state of emergency in Ontario.

City councillors and some staffers met Tuesday night through electronic means for the regularly scheduled council meeting. Everyone joined in through video and teleconference and the public was able to watch online.

Mayor Brian Bigger and nine city councillors were in attendance, and spent the first 40 minutes speaking about COVID-19 and the municipal response.

"Our world has changed substantially since the last time we were all together," Bigger said at the start of the meeting.

He mentioned that all of council, and city staff have been inundated with calls from the community and most had been working countless hours since it unfolded.

"What I have seen in the last week and a half has been simply impressive," Bigger said, mentioning the dedication of city staff and patience and collaboration from union leaders.

Garbage bag limit

During the meeting, several councillors asked about making temporary changes to a few service levels to help ease some the burden on citizens.

Councillor Robert Kirwan sought a motion to allow households across the city to put out a second bag of garbage for curbside pickup, instead of the usual one bag limit.

"A number of people have been saying that since they're at home, with children, that the garbage limit of one bag per household,  is starting to look a little difficult," he said.

Council voted that in recognition of the social changes  taking place as a consequence of COVID-19, they would allow households to add a second bag of garbage to curbside pickup, effective Wednesday.

Downtown parking 

Sudbury city councillors also voted that all downtown metered parking be free, at least during the state of emergency across the province.

A city staffer with bylaw services told council that parking enforcement had ceased last week.

These temporary changes will be in effect until the province lifts the state of emergency. 

City council also voted to suspend the charging of interest on overdue water and wastewater accounts through until June 4. There won't be any non-sufficient funds (NSF) charges imposed for customers on pre-authorization plans, and no water shut offs for arrears will happen before the June date.

At the end of the meeting, many councillors commended the city's IT department for putting together the virtual meeting.

"We'll get through this," Bigger told council. "We've faced adversity before, as a community and we will come out stronger once this is finally over."

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