Flushing toilet heard during Vancouver City council's first virtual meeting

Apr 15 2020, 4:28 pm
The City of Vancouver’s first attempt at a completely virtual council meeting was far from what could be considered smooth.

On Tuesday morning, the meeting started more than an hour behind schedule after being plagued with connectivity issues for the councillors, as well as an internet problem for Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Stewart’s issue was so bad in fact, that he was forced to drive to the council chambers at City Hall in order to continue the meeting.

“My apologies, my home internet totally collapsed,” he later told councillors, staff, and city clerks. “I was unable to do anything.”

The highlight of the morning’s escapades, however, was when a certain councillor was caught flushing the toilet on stream, forgetting to mute their phone.

And yes, everybody heard it.


Despite Tuesday morning’s challenges, however, city staff remain confident that they’ll be able to host more streamlined meetings in the future.

“Staff are confident that we can host the public hearings,” said Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver’s City Manager, when the meeting kicked off. “At this point, we feel very confident, despite the shaky meeting this morning so far, technology-wise, that we can achieve hosting a public hearing virtually.

“Surrey has done it, other municipalities in the Lower Mainland have done it, we feel we as a municipality can do as the other cities have been able to do.”

“This is brand new for all of us,” said Johnston. “I can’t guarantee that there won’t be challenges.”

The council meeting continued throughout most of the day, with one of the main topics being a financial update and suggested short-term actions from city staff.

A key issue included the possibility of a grace period for property taxes, although it was ultimately decided that the decision would be made before the end of the month.

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