A new webcasting system will make it easer for Sarnians to watch – and rewatch – the actions of city council next year.
Councillors recently agreed to spend about $42,000 on new cameras and an automated switching system to record and live-stream municipal meetings. Electrical upgrades at city hall will bring the capital bill to about $50,000.
The system, similar to one used by London’s municipal government, will provide seamless live webcasting of meetings, said Coun. Cindy Scholten.
“(Council members) have buttons that they press when they vote, and everyone’s vote pops right up on this giant screen for all of the audience to see.”
The new system will include in-house video archiving of meetings that will be available to the public on the Internet.
Citizens will be able to go back and search for a specific topic debated at a meeting and see how their elected officials voted on it.
Scholten said she believes the system will demystify what happens at City Hall.
“The more sensitive that things get, the more I realize the importance and urgency of having a live webcasting of our meetings,” she said.
“Only that way can an individual make their own fair judgment on a council decision.”
CogecoTV, which currently broadcasts Sarnia council meetings on Cable channel 6, will still be able to re-broadcast the in-house feed from City Hall, and do it with a reduced need for volunteers.
The webcasting system will also impact the operating budget by about $16,000 per year.
City manager Margaret Misek-Evans said the initiative is expected to be in place for the public to use later this year.