Council meetings to be available and archived online

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Lisa Goudy
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iSi awarded sole source agreement to help live stream meetings

Council meetings will be live streamed.

Councillors unanimously approved a sole source agreement with integratingSolutions Inc. (iSi) Global Webcasting for the next five years to help live stream council meetings. The cost will be $7,500 per year plus taxes.

"We just completed the re-equipping of audiovisual and recording equipment in council chambers,” said Myron Gulka-Tiechko, city clerk/solicitor. “We now have the technical ability to enable webcasting as an option. However, that needs to be hosted offsite, but the webcasting will basically allow anyone who has access to Internet to watch council proceedings."

Council previously approved a budget of $10,000 per year for an external webhosting provider to live stream council proceedings in 2013. Shaw Cable agreed to provide the feed at no cost to the city.

According to a report from the city clerk/solicitor’s department, Saskatoon and Prince Albert recently adopted a webcasting initiative. Both use a feed from Shaw Cable broadcasts for live streaming and have contracted with iSi Global Webcasting for the live streaming services.

“I went online. I went on Saskatoon and it froze up. I couldn’t get any further than just after O Canada anytime I went on. I went on Yorkton and the same thing happened,” said Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick. “I see that they discontinued their live streaming process in Prince Albert due to lack of interest.

“I would assume that administration had also done that kind of checking to see whether or not everything was working really up to snuff in the other centres.”

Gulka-Tiechko said city administration conducted research indicated in the report last year.

“In our discussions with Saskatoon and Prince Albert, they were happy with the technical support that was being done and the support that was provided,” he said. “Our agreement with the supplier will allow us to discontinue on 30 days notice. So if there’s an issue of either technical problems or lack of interest in the public and a question of saving $7,500 a year, then certainly we have the ability to discontinue.”

His report also said live streaming council meetings is another way to increase transparency of the municipal government.

“It would provide a level of accessibility for citizens to access meetings as they are happening live, from wherever they are located as long as they are connected to the Internet. This had previously been limited to Shaw customers,” it said.

The meetings will be available on the city website. The meetings will be set up in a way to allow viewers to easily navigate and skip to topics they wish to know about. Within the next day or two of a meeting, the video will be archived and indexed, making topics searchable.

City administration researched other possible companies to provide the service. One was considered, but had much higher costs and less municipal experience and costs are more than $4,000 higher.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

 

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Yorkton

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