Langford mulling move to mainstream

Council to consider livestreaming meetings in September

Langford council will consider options for livestreaming meetings at an upcoming meeting in September. (Black Press Media file photo)

Langford council will take another look at stepping in front of the camera.

With the Town of View Royal’s decision in July to livestream council meetings, Langford is now one of two municipalities in the Capital Region to not jump on the video bandwagon, with the other being the District of Metchosin.

Langford has in the past cited a lack of requests from residents and the cost of purchasing and operating a system as reasons for not livestreaming.

According to an Aug. 7 statement from the City of Langford, information staff has reviewed from other communities that provide webcasting shows participation rates are low.

“The city is aware, however, that both webcasting and recording council meetings promote openness and transparency and with this in mind, staff will continue to research technology and implementation options for consideration by council this coming fall,” the statement noted.

Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, has been vocal in the past and again recently about the situation.

“There are no excuses,” Bartlett said in a recent post. “Langford is a large city that’s growing and thorough scrutiny of the various development projects is critical. We had a number of residents express concerns to us. Langford is a prosperous municipality that can certainly afford this cost of democracy.”

Bartlett also pointed out that most citizens can’t attend the council meetings at 5:30 p.m. because of work obligations and the fact many families have dinner at that time.

“Livestreaming allows them to find out later what the heck is going on,” he added.

Coun. Lillian Szpak confirmed council has asked staff to look into pricing and gather information on technical issues in preparation for discussion in September.

“We’re aware this is being offered in communities all over the country,” Szpak said.

“I believe residents would appreciate this. Not everyone has the option of attending meetings for a variety of reasons, so this is another option and that’s why we’re considering it. The timing is optimal, considering the restrictions arising from COVID-19.”

Langford council meetings will continue to be offered to the public by teleconference due to COVID-19.

Staff also encourage residents to review council agendas and minutes online at langford.ca/EN/meta/city-hall/agendas-minutes.html.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


 

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