Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith will join Coun. Peter Wainwright during a virtual meet-and-greet Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 3 p.m. to update residents on local COVID-19 response. (Black Press File/Submitted)

Sidney to engage in unique experiment with virtual forum

Virtual ‘meet and greet’ will take place between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Sidney residents Sunday will engage in what is likely an historic virtual forum to learn more about the local response to COVID-19.

“I am not aware that this has ever been done before in Sidney or the Peninsula,” said Coun. Peter Wainwright, who is organizing Sunday’s informal forum scheduled for 2 p.m. for an hour.

This virtual ‘meet and greet’ will use Zoom video conferencing. Residents can download the software for free, which allows up to 100 people to participate. The software does not require video and users can turn off their video.

Wainright said he is not sure how many people will participate. “Council meet-and-greets in the past usually attract anywhere from 40 to 100 people,” he said. “But, this isn’t business as usual. I know that the word has been spreading on social media. We’ll have to wait and see.”

RELATED: Sidney mayor updates residents on COVID-19 during virtual forum Sunday

The forum will start with opening remarks from Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith. Wainwright will then explain Zoom and the management of the speaker’s list. “This will depend on how many participants we have,” he said. “The mayor will then provide an update and some opening remarks and we’ll open it up for questions and answers. We expect to go for about one hour in total. It will end with closing remarks by the mayor.”

Wainwright said the technical challenges will similar to those with a large number of people on the telephone conference. “But added to this are varying levels of computer expertise and quality of Internet connection of the participants,” he said.

To ensure the greatest possible reach, Radio Sidney will simulcast the forum.


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