Need to report a civic issue? There might be an app for that

NANAIMO – Coun. George Anderson proposing smartphone app that allows residents to easily report issue to city hall.

A Nanaimo politician is calling on council to consider a new smartphone app that would allow residents to report civic issues from the palm of their hands.

Coun. George Anderson wants council to look into a new app that would see people access city information and report issues, like potholes and graffiti, from their smartphones.

It wouldn’t be the first municipality to tap into mobile technology. Kamloops, Surrey and Vancouver all have apps connecting residents to city hall.

With the popularity of smartphones and people using electronic means like e-Town hall meetings to get engaged, Anderson says enhancing those kinds of services for people would be a win for the community.

“As a government, we need to try to get to more people. There [are] advantages, obviously, to paper copies and all those types of things, but I think there’s great opportunity to look at the information technology side of things and perhaps get more people involved.”

Anderson would like to see the app include information like schedules for public facilities and billing, as well as the ability for residents to tip off civic problems. The idea stems from the Kamloops’ app, which launched three years ago. People are able to snap a photo of an issue, pinpoint the location with GPS and send it to city hall. They get a text message when the problem is fixed.

Adam Chadwick, geographic information systems manager for the City of Kamloops, said the app takes about 30 seconds to use and eliminates the need for people to look up a phone number for city hall or remember where they saw the problem. The software costs $9,000 annually and while it’s hard to quantify, he says by making it easy for people to report issues, the city is more likely to find out about them sooner, leading to fewer costs, less liability and better service for citizens.

“People are reporting what’s annoying to them. If you take care of those … then you are getting back to providing the service people want and the problems concerning to them,” Chadwick said.

It can also help the community stay on top of issues like graffiti.

“You can drive around downtown and virtually see no graffiti because people are on it,” he said. “They take photos and it’s removed right away.”

Chadwick believes more municipalities will get apps thanks to the growing number of smartphone users and said the more places that adopt it, the more functional the software will become.

A motion for a report on a new app will be made at a council meeting on Sept. 29.

Just Posted

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read