First-term NPA park board commissioner Melissa De Genova wants the board to join the 21st century and host videos of its public meetings online. De Genova said the board would be able to better engage with the public if residents could watch meetings at their leisure rather than having to find the time to sit through them in person.
"I put forward a motion that we either look into, if not live streaming, at least recording them and putting them up on our website," she told the Courier. "A lot of people who might want to attend meetings are parents or people who work through the day and can't make it all the way out to Beach Avenue at seven o'clock at night. This will help bring the meetings into people's homes and people will have a better idea of what's going on and be more able to participate. It's way easier for people to watch them on their computers than reading the minutes."
De Genova said a similar motion was introduced three years ago but never gained traction due to the potential cost, but she hopes money will be less of an issue now that the board has better access to city hall's resources because of the new shared services review.
"I think this is really important, especially since the parks board has changed its structure with committee meetings and board meetings on the same evenings, so it's difficult for people who want to attend our board meeting to have to it through our committee meetings and sometimes that doesn't end until 11: 30 at night."
According to a 2009 staff report, the startup cost to purchase the necessary equipment would be $11,000 and the ongoing cost $14,000 per year.
City council started offering live streaming of its meetings, including standing committees and public hearings, in 2004. Archived video footage of meetings is hosted on city's website at vancouver.ca.
Rosemary Hagiwara, the city's director of council operations, said the program has largely been "problem-free" and costs around a thousand dollars a month to provide.
One service the park board has lost since getting rid of its old website and merging it with the city's site is the ability for residents to register to speak at meetings online. The service became unavailable in February and speakers can now only sign up over the phone or in person. De Genova expects this problem will be fixed soon.
"As we move forward to working with the city to update the system, I want to make sure that is restored," said De Genova. "Here we are in 2012 and we need to be as technically advanced as any other company or government agency."
The park board is expected to vote on the motion at its next meeting on Monday (July 9), 7 p.m. at 2099 Beach Ave.