News

Livestreaming report sent back to staff

By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff

Welland councillors sent back a report on livestreaming council meetings after concerns were raised over the issue. City staff will bring back a new report in June.

Welland councillors sent back a report on livestreaming council meetings after concerns were raised over the issue. City staff will bring back a new report in June.

When it comes to livestreaming city council meetings, Ward 6 Coun. Jim Larouche wants to make sure Welland gets it right.

Larouche was one of two councillors who wanted to see a report, recommending council enter a three-year, $11,000 agreement with iSi Live to provide webcasting, referred back to city staff.

At last week’s committee meeting, council approved the agreement, which would have seen iSi Live provide closed-captioning, at 94 per cent accuracy; unlimited usage; support training and encoding hardware; and an advanced system for maintaining records of meetings. A one-camera system, mounted above the public gallery and looking down at council, was proposed by the company.

Larouche said he was contacted by constituents who raised concerns over the report.

“I’m asking we send this back to staff to go over some of those concerns and make sure we got this right,” he said, without saying exactly what those concerns were. “I’m just asking for some consideration .. and that we have a second look at it.”

Larouche said livestreaming council, and other, meetings, is new territory for Welland.

“I’m probably the last guy in the world to talk about technology,” he said to council.

Wednesday, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Carl said he was contacted by one of the other companies - Wee Stream - that had been considered for livestreaming.

In the report, Wee Stream was offering to livestream meetings at $400 for three hours and $75 for every 30 minutes past three hours. City staff said with a schedule of at least 37 meetings a year, it would be more expensive to go with Wee Stream.

Carl said once he was contacted, he looked into both iSi Live and Wee Stream to see what they had to offer.

“For myself, I think livestreaming is a great thing with the way technology is going and the way people view things.”

Carl said he wanted constituents to have the same viewing experience online as they had watching council on Cogeco TV.

After watching different councils, the councillor said there were good livestreams and bad ones, ones that looked like watching through a security camera.

“To me, the company doesn’t matter, it’s the end product. It’s important we get this right the first time. We have a job to do as council and I want to make sure we’ve done it to the best of our ability,” Carl said, especially with a three-year agreement, he added.

He said council never saw what the end product would be for iSi Live, and agreed that a demonstration from all three companies, the third being Sliq Media Technologies, would have benefitted council.

City staff will bring back a new report on livestreaming at the June 6 council meeting.