Ward Meetings Hit Social Media

Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 23:52 PM

Ward and town hall meetings are coming to a livestream near you.  

Council has adopted new guidelines to allow councillors to broadcast meetings online. 

Shelby Ch'ng says her motion gives city officials another way to connect with residents on social media. 

"I think this will also set the pace and tone for future councils, when they're developing policies on the use social media and whatever else is invented at that time." 

However, that idea is making some around the council table uneasy.  

Rebecca Johnson says she's not alright with the city's hands-off approach allowing each councillor to choose how to share their meetings with the public. 

"I think we need some consistency, and we need some--I hate to say it--rules and regulations, and procedures and processes."

The guidelines chosen Monday night won't mean any new costs for the city, instead leaving it up to councillors to arrange and pay for any equipment and technical arrangements on their own.   

Neebing Ward Councillor Linda Rydholm says being observed--and possibly recorded--on social media could discourage attendees from speaking their minds. 

"I'm a little concerned that they won't be as forthright if the camera is running."

There was discussion of allowing viewers to participate in meetings via social media; a report from city staff lists concerns that some may use ward and town hall meetings as a platform for public attention if the meetings are broadcast to a wider audience. (Staff Photo)