• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion mulling drive-in theatre for this summer


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

With a disruption to the town's many summer activities due to the pandemic, Vaudreuil-Dorion is looking at safe entertainment alternatives for families.

With the annual Festival de Cirque cancelled this June because of the COVID-19 virus and the fate of this year’s La Mosaïc Parade – which coincides with Quebec’s annual Fête Nationale in June still uncertain, Vaudreuil-Dorion is looking for alternatives to provide safe outings for its residents while maintaining social distancing safety protocols.

One proposal recently adopted by council is to set up a temporary drive-in movie theatre that would allow families and others to watch a film while practicing social distancing from the safety of their vehicles, Mayor Guy Pilon told The Journal during a telephone interview on May 12.

$10 admission per car

“We have a spot in mind but we can’t announce it yet because we haven’t signed an agreement with the owners. It will feature a big screen and there will be room for 90 cars. People will have to register ahead of time for movie showings because of the 90-car limit. The price of admission will be $10 per car. The sound will be available through a specific radio frequency,” said Pilon.

The aim of the city is to provide a semblance of normalcy to the population amid the uncertainty many people feel because of the restriction of movement that was put in place by the provincial government on March 15 to limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout the region.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Signs detail the extensive safety measures in place which visitors must abide by in order to gain access into Vaudreuil-Dorion city hall.

Skeleton staff manning city hall

City hall never completely closed during the two-month period. It was manned with a skeleton staff of four people including Mayor Pilon. The number of employees will slowly increase as more people return to work. “We have 100 employees who are working from home,” said Pilon. “We brought them whatever technical equipment they needed so they could do their work.”

While city hall is still technically open, an appointment is necessary to gain entry. Citizens can still apply for permits or get information on municipal-related issues through the city’s website.

Teleconferencing proficiency

The mayor has had to adapt to the challenges of conducting staff meetings with his personnel via telephone and the internet for the past two months and says he’s become very proficient with the video communication app he uses.

“I’ve never talked so much on the phone,” said Pilon. “I hold my meetings using Zoom video conferencing and I’m getting better and better at it. I work using two screens now. I want people to know that all our employees and city councillors are okay. We are very happy about the fact that we can work and are even moving ahead with some new projects.”

Council meetings live streamed

Some city services such as the library and Centre MultiSports are still closed but will reopen eventually in accordance with health and safety protocols such as maintaining social distancing. Council meetings will be open to the public again as soon as the city gets the go-ahead to proceed.

In the interim, council meetings have been regularly live-streamed on CSUR la Télé with citizens able to ask questions via telephone. “I speak with them and answer their questions but it’s not the same as when they’re here in the council chamber,” said Pilon.