The District of Port Hardy is the first North Island community to truly embrace the digital age by live-streaming its council meetings.
District staff broke the news on its Facebook page last week, announcing that the Oct. 8 regular meeting of council would be the date for the first ever live-streamed meeting.
Port Hardy’s Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick noted the decision to live-stream meetings came about because “it is a goal of council to engage with the public more, so staff asked if they would be in favour of live-streaming and they thought it would be great.”
McCarrick added that “at this time it (live-streaming) will be used for regular council meetings only” and that the district did not have to amend or create any bylaws to actually start live-streaming the meetings.
As for the rest of the Tri-Port area, Port McNeill council previously held discussions on live-streaming meetings back in July, but Mayor Gaby Wickstrom said they weren’t able to figure out a way to host the streams due to the town’s website not having the capacity to do so.
Staff was supposed to report back to council on cost and other options for live-streaming at the town’s Aug. 19 meeting, but that did not happen. Multiple attempts to contact Port McNeill’s Chief Administrative Officer Pete Nelson-Smith regarding why staff did not report back went unanswered.
Wickstrom, however, did state that once the town’s website is finally upgraded, council will be “eager to further our transparency and will look for a suitable online platform to compliment our new site.”
Port Alice staff stated the village won’t be getting into the business of live-streaming meetings primarily due to financial reasons, as well as there just not being enough interest from the residents.
Alert Bay staff noted the village is interested in how Port Hardy’s streaming goes, but need to see if they have the internet capability to do the same.
The Regional District of Mount Waddington did not respond when asked about live-streaming meetings.