Imagine getting to witness the excitement of a Saanich council meeting without having to leave the comfort of your computer chair.
Council supported Coun. Vic Derman’s recommendation Monday night seeking to have council and committee of the whole meetings streamed live online and archived as a podcast.
“I think it would be invaluable information for voters when election time comes around. They can say, ‘Well what did my councillor do for these particular issues?’ And you could see not only how they voted but what they said,” Derman said. “(Written) minutes are fine, but they’re fairly brief and they don’t catch the flavour of what somebody said, how hard they spoke against something or what the mood might be.”
The other benefits of recording and sharing the meetings would allow Saanichites to watch a meeting on their schedule, to research how council voted on particular items, and as an “invaluable historical record,” Derman argued.
“Think if we had, and of course there was limited technology at the time, audio recordings of meetings in 1910, and listen to what people debated about, it would be just incredible,” he said. “Given that we have the technology to do that today, why wouldn’t we?”
Vancouver and Surrey both record and archive meetings and post them online. Their respective websites also include keyword searches that will sift through written agendas and minutes, too.
While Derman says video recordings would be optimal, he acknowledged that it could potentially require having someone behind a camera for the entirety of a meeting, as opposed to just flicking on a digital voice recorder.
“It’s in the interest of council to have its own recording and have it available to the public for permanent record,” he said.
Saanich staff will research the technology and feasibility, and will report back to council.