When Saint John council meets Monday night, it’ll be their first face-to-face meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
It will also be the first time in nearly two years the group meets in City Hall’s council chambers.
Since last used in December 2018, chambers have been given a facelift as part of a larger renovation process that sees city operations condensed to the first four floors of the building.
“Of course the chambers are a really important space within City Hall, so naturally it was included in that project,” said Lisa Caissie, communications manager for the City of Saint John.
The first floor of City Hall has been completely reworked into a customer service centre, allowing residents to pay parking tickets, water bills or file permits right inside the doors off King Street.
Caissie says the new layout will save money in the long-term — $700,000 a year on a 15-year lease.
Back in council chambers, she says upgrades to technology and seating will be most noticeable for residents attending meetings.
Councillors will have an enhanced way to vote on motions, as well.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll be separated by plexiglass barriers that will allow them to go massless for discussions.
Pandemic protocol also means limited capacity in the space, but Monday’s meeting will be streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel.