OK Town of Lake Cowichan, listen up: the time has come for you to finally video your meetings. There is no longer any good excuse not to.
Technology today means such an endeavour will be neither difficult nor expensive. In fact, we’d be very surprised if the town doesn’t already possess all the gadgets it needs to provide at least a basic recording. Here’s how you can do it with very, very little effort:
1. Take a smart phone or a tablet
2. Set it up so that it has a view of all of the councillors. You can use either a tripod, or, if you don’t have one and don’t want the expense of buying one, a stack of books works perfectly well in a pinch.
3. Have someone hit record at the start of the public meeting, and stop at the end.
4. Tell councillors to speak up.
5. Create an account for the town on YouTube. Post your video.
6. If you want to get a little more technically ambitious, you can live stream your meeting, also through YouTube.
I suspect at least one or two people at the town office will be entirely capable of doing all of the above. If they are not, head on down to the high school — teens are way more savvy than adults about technology these days, and can probably suggest 10 other methods you can use to accomplish the same goal.
But accomplish it you must.
Take a look at the public gallery at your next few council meetings. Not exactly standing room only on a regular day, is it? But we’d bet there are far more people who would tune in to at least see parts of your meetings if they could do it at the touch of a button on their own screens at home.
Plus, there’s the added bonus that they can do it on their own time. Not everyone has a schedule that means they can physically come to a council meeting — currently their only choice if they want to see the debate and speak to council.
Perhaps someone didn’t know something was coming before council, but afterwards want to know what happened. With a video, it’s easy for them to catch up.
It’s important that as many people are informed about what council is deciding and what key issues are facing the community as possible. An informed electorate is vital to a healthy democracy. This is an easy way to reach out beyond your council chambers to your constituents.
The Town of Lake Cowichan is the last municipal jurisdiction in the Cowichan Valley to take up the digital torch, as it were. Time to jump on board, or on screen as the case may be.