Thanks to a little luck on the part of Mayor Jane Mendum, the District of Highlands has a shiny new website, with improved access to information for residents.
In 2012 Mendum, of her own volition, entered the Extreme Website Makeover competition with a company called CivicPlus, a developer of government websites. Highlands was the lone Canadian community among the 12 picked of 161 finalists to win a free website redesign.
“I said to staff ‘Do you want me to do this?’ and they said ‘Oh sure, go for it,’” Mendum said. “We’re so excited about it. … It was a great opportunity to upgrade capabilities.”
The communities were selected based on an interview and how well it engaged with the community while campaigning for the new website.
The district also receives training and two years worth of annual fees waived.
Along with a more visually pleasing and easily navigable website, residents can sign up for alerts, which will email important city information automatically. Anyone can subscribe to items such as council agendas and community events.
“It’s much timelier than mailing something out,” Mendum said. “It’s all about improving engagement.”
Mendum said revamping the district’s website is something that likely would not have bee a priority for some time.
“We were just in time to keep up with everyone, which is really great for a small municipality,” Mendum said. “There’s a great pride in what staff has delivered as far as the improvements in accessibility and transparency.”
The previous website was developed about four years ago.
Visit the revamped website at highlands.bc.ca.