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Regional district considers web streaming meetings

Having a window into local government proceedings could one day be as simple as turning on your computer.

Among many other important considerations, the Regional District of Nanaimo will be deliberating the use of a web streaming service to broadcast, record and archive its board meetings during its 2013 budget discussions.

In a report requested by the board in early October, Mike Moody, RDN manager of information services, presented directors with several alternatives, including full and minimal web streaming and broadcasting by Shaw Cable.

"By implementing a web streaming solution in 2013, the RDN has the ability to further engage the general public in the processes and issues of local government," he wrote. "The web streaming process also allows the RDN to record board meetings in video/audio for future reference and historical purposes.

Full web streaming solution would involve a capital cost of approximately $25,000 to $30,000 up front for equipment - including five to six cameras, microphones and wiring, as well as annual operating costs of $12,000 to $17,000. It would also require a third-party web site hosting the archived meetings for on-demand web streaming.

Staff have suggested that proceeding with the web streaming in conjunction with board and committee room audio visual upgrades budgeted for up to $30,000 in the 2012-2016 could result in lowered costs for both projects.

"Quality of sound, static and feedback, and quality of the projected images and plasma TV image have been major issues as well as difficulty of obtaining replacement parts," said RDN director of corporate services Joan Harrison, in an e-mail.

Once the budget is finalized, the RDN can proceed with a request for proposals, meaning it could be mid-year or early fall before completion of the project, if it goes ahead, Harrison said.

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