For a number of years I brought the possibly of webcasting our regular monthly public council meetings to the table for discussion.
When Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gave me the Communications portfolio after last November's election, there was already some momentum to provide our citizens with the opportunity to view our meetings online.
Initially, we looked into live webcasts. The cost to video record (and live stream) the council meetings with a professional company would have been $1,230 (plus tax) per meeting. This price only included one camera. For the 12 regular monthly meetings, this would have translated into a $15,000 cost (plus tax) and an additional $1,230 for each special meeting that we would recorded as well, such as December budget meeting, for instance.
We are fortunate to have someone as resourceful as Director of Communications and Public Affairs Darryl Levine on our team. When we mandated him to come up with another option he was quick to respond. His department began video recording council meetings in January 2018 and posting the video recording on YouTube within two days. It also began uploading the audio to SoundCloud. There was no added capital cost to the city to introduce this service as the department had previously invested over the past seven years in a camcorder, wireless audio transmitter, a mirrorless camera (used as a second video camera), digital sound recorder, and video editing software. There was no added labour cost either. Our inhouse production uses two cameras during question period to make the video more interesting to watch.
Epilogue: This example highlights the strength of our Communications and Public Affairs Department. They are able to do a lot of work in-house that other cities our size send out. It also fulfills a key goal of our new "open city" process.
Follow this section on our website to view and listen throughout the year.