Oak Bay leads the way electronically

Councillor attends critical meeting while out of the country

Oak Bay is leading the way with electronic meetings.

During its special council meeting to consider variances for the proposed redevelopment of the Oak Bay Lodge site Coun. Tara Ney participated via Skype.

While on vacation, her comments and vote were recorded during the June 27 meeting as part of a bylaw adopted just two days earlier.

“I think it worked very well,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “We’re launching Oak Bay council into the electronic age on a number of fronts, this is one of them.”

Oak Bay council asked staff to write the procedural bylaw at its May 28 meeting and outlined some parameters. The bylaw came before council June 11 and under direction from council to see that it was up for adoption prior to the special council meeting June 27, was adopted on June 25.

“It reflects the fact that many of our councillors have full-time jobs,” Jensen said. “It recognizes the role of councillor and mayor as a part-time job on behalf of  the community. This is a way that you can participate if you are travelling or away on business.”

The use of Skype – Microsoft software that allows users to communicate in real time via voice, video and instant messaging through the Internet – during a public meeting is a first for the region.

Victoria has, on occasion, had councillors participate in meetings via telephone but not Skype. “We are considering webcasting, and I expect there may be further discussions in this regard at that time,” said Katie Josephson, director of communications for the City of Victoria.

Esquimalt’s bylaw allows a council member to participate electronically because of illness or injury or with permission of council.  While they’ve used the telephone conference call for in-camera sessions, it’s not been used during a public meeting  of council.

In Saanich there’s a provision for electronic participation in an “urgent” situation. It has yet to be used.

“It’s just for limited occasions,” Jensen said of the new Oak Bay bylaw. “The limit is three times a year at this point. If this goes well we can think of extending it as we get used to Skype and teleconferencing.”

Other elements of the electronic move for the municipality is a revamped website and electronic agendas.

“We’re going to try to go paperless,” Jensen said.

Just Posted

Major expansion coming to Royal Bay Secondary

Province will build space for 600 more students on same site

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

Langford fundraiser for kidney disease is a success

Maureen Hobbs thinks B.C. Transplant says it best: “Live life. Pass it on.”

Preschool group helps release fish into Glen Lake

The number of fish released correlates to the number of fish caught per year

Songhees Wellness Centre event immersed in indigenous cuisine and culture

Camosun and Songhees cook together for reconciliation while fundraising for student scholarship fund at March 23 event

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

UPDATED: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

Most Read