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Vancouver council members hear toilet flush, not each other, at virtual meeting

Last Updated Apr 14, 2020 at 5:14 pm EDT

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says city council’s first attempt at a virtual meeting was a bumpy one that included technical glitches, delays and the whoosh of a flushing toilet.

The public meeting started more than an hour late on Tuesday as councillors tried to check into the meeting online but were thwarted by technical issues that included not being able to hear each other, despite their comments being audible on the public feed.

Stewart was heard saying, “Hi folks, can you hear me?” largely drawing silence other than councillors saying “test, test, test.”

After several attempts, the mayor said he had an internet issue at home and would drive to city hall to continue the meeting.

During the roll call a flushing toilet could be heard, prompting city staff to say they could hear running water and recommending that councillors mute their phones.

“And your toilets,” Stewart quipped.

Councillors eventually started the meeting by debating a report about holding virtual public hearings on projects during the pandemic.

The debate was interrupted by a councillor answering her phone to pay a personal bill, causing staff to again ask councillors to mute their phones.

“Obviously, we’re all learning as we go,” said city manager Sadhu Aufochs Johnston. “This is a new era.”

Stewart agreed: “If my internet works, perhaps next time will be better than this one.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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