UPDATE: Further comment from the PRRD has been added to the story.

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District is denouncing racist comments made during a virtual town hall session.

In a statement, the PRRD said a public hearing Tuesday on expanding the Charlie Lake fire services was disrupted by racist and profane language.

The PRRD believes the meeting was hacked,  and the comments made weren’t from someone trying to participate. The district says the comments made won’t be released to the public.

“We reject racist or hateful language or behaviour of any sort, and our Board created a specific policy to that effect. We apologize to any of the meeting participants that saw this offensive language or have been affected by this unfortunate incident,” says board chair Brad Sperling.

The individual was posting hateful comments during a staff presentation.

The PRRD says staff immediately stopped the meeting, reset the presentation and readmitted some participants. The meeting continued without incident.

Staff are altering the public meeting process so a similar incident doesn’t occur again, said PRRD.

“Our public meetings are a vital part of the democratic process, where staff share information about PRRD projects and services, and PRRD residents ask questions and share their thoughts. The vast majority of people do this in a constructive and respectful manner, and this incident will not prevent us from continuing to consult and engage with our residents through virtual platforms,” says Sperling.