Ottawa firm chosen to stream council meetings online

Webcast of Parksville council meetings to cost $5,000 per year

When Parksville council received a report from staff at the beginning of the year that the best option for webcasting their meetings was a $5,000 a year Ottawa based company, council bristled and asked for more options, preferably local and cheaper.

Council had discussed broadcasting their meetings in various ways but that first report from staff last January suggested recording the meetings was the easy part, the real value would be in indexing and archiving the video online for easy access.

“If we were just looking for streaming services, there are lots of local companies that do that,” said communication officer Debbie Tardiff in January, but no local company provides the indexing service to archive meetings and make them searchable.

She said that is becoming the norm and she didn’t think people would want to sit through a three hour video to find a single report.

The initial report was sparked when the Parksville Community and Conference Centre Forum, where the meetings are held, received an audio and video update including the installation of three video cameras last summer.

Council rejected that initial recommendation of Ottawa based iSi Global and asked for options.

This week council received a six-page report including a comparison of over 30 potential services and details on seven companies that provide webcasting and/or online video streaming including one based in Parksville, one in Nanaimo and two others from B.C.

Neither of the local companies could provide indexing or searchable content and of the companies that could, iSi Global still came in as providing the best range of services, for less money.

While council was hesitant to use the distant company, the councillors present supported the motion to send it on to their next regular council meeting. Tardiff said the service can be up and running four to six weeks after the final decision.


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