LETTER: Online council meetings improve access

Kudos to Saanich council in their forward thinking by making council meetings available online in real time. This is a tremendous resource which enables the community to stay in touch with matters in Saanich in a convenient matter.

Attending council meetings to find out about a particular development or agenda item can result in a lot of lost time. For contentious issues, many times the council chambers are overwhelmed by attendees resulting in adjournments, rescheduling etc. The broadcast meetings helps meet an action item in the OCP by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In some cases, one waits through a number of agenda items, only to have the meeting adjourned because of time constraints, which requires rescheduling to some later date.

In many cases in the past, reliance on those who have attended the council meetings spreading the word via letters to the editor, information disseminated by the local community association (usually quite some time after the fact) or word of mouth has been the only way of keeping in touch with community matters. In some cases, letters to the editor generate a story which can be helpful to bring other pertinent matters to light.

Broadcasting council meetings online in real time will allow the whole community of Saanich to stay in touch with what is happening in our neighbourhoods. We can see first hand how council reacts to development proposals and learn how they come to their decisions. We can see how their beliefs and opinions align with the community ideas and values. We can use this as an important decision making tool when it comes time to go to the polls.

I urge everyone do make use of this valuable resource. It gives each and every resident the power to have more control over the decisions made by council so that our communities move forward in a direction that we want as a united group, rather than by the opinions of a few elected members.

Steve Corner