Hay River town council has finally joined the brave new world of cyberspace.
On Dec. 9, a meeting of council was live streamed on YouTube for the first time, and everything appears to have gone well in the effort to bring municipal politics to more residents of Hay River.
Speaking on Dec. 11, Glenn Smith, the town’s assistant senior administrative officer, sounded very satisfied with the first live-streamed meeting.
“I think we were pleased with the quality of the broadcast, both from the video and especially the audio perspective, which we were watching closely,” he said. “So it seemed to be successful and we’ll continue to make small adjustments where needed, but it was very good for a go live, I think.”
Smith said there might be some small tweaking to the live streaming, such as if a member of council or administration might be a little harder to hear.
“We have some flexibility there during the meeting, as well,” he said. “We can adjust the inputs, too, if we notice that some of the levels might be dropping down a bit. So nothing major, I don’t think. We’re reminding councillors to project and position their mics appropriately.”
Smith noted that during the Dec. 9 live streaming there were about 10 people watching the meeting as it happened.
The number of views continued to climb afterward as people watched a recorded version of the meeting.
By Dec. 14, the meeting from Dec. 9 had been viewed 69 times, and had received two thumbs up.
Another meeting from Dec. 11 had 63 views by Dec. 14.
Smith said it is a big advantage for people to be able to watch a recorded version of meeting at convenient times.
In years past, council meetings were sometimes broadcast on the community television channel, but the system was plagued with poor quality for visuals and sound.
That system has not been operational for over two years.
The new system – highlighted by a camera on the ceiling at the back of council chambers – is expected to cost under $10,000.
The system has a monitoring feature that allows for the camera – under the control of the council administrator – to focus on several different areas during a meeting.