Oak Bay leads the way electronically

Councillor attends critical meeting while out of the country

Oak Bay is leading the way with electronic meetings.

During its special council meeting to consider variances for the proposed redevelopment of the Oak Bay Lodge site Coun. Tara Ney participated via Skype.

While on vacation, her comments and vote were recorded during the June 27 meeting as part of a bylaw adopted just two days earlier.

“I think it worked very well,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “We’re launching Oak Bay council into the electronic age on a number of fronts, this is one of them.”

Oak Bay council asked staff to write the procedural bylaw at its May 28 meeting and outlined some parameters. The bylaw came before council June 11 and under direction from council to see that it was up for adoption prior to the special council meeting June 27, was adopted on June 25.

“It reflects the fact that many of our councillors have full-time jobs,” Jensen said. “It recognizes the role of councillor and mayor as a part-time job on behalf of  the community. This is a way that you can participate if you are travelling or away on business.”

The use of Skype – Microsoft software that allows users to communicate in real time via voice, video and instant messaging through the Internet – during a public meeting is a first for the region.

Victoria has, on occasion, had councillors participate in meetings via telephone but not Skype. “We are considering webcasting, and I expect there may be further discussions in this regard at that time,” said Katie Josephson, director of communications for the City of Victoria.

Esquimalt’s bylaw allows a council member to participate electronically because of illness or injury or with permission of council.  While they’ve used the telephone conference call for in-camera sessions, it’s not been used during a public meeting  of council.

In Saanich there’s a provision for electronic participation in an “urgent” situation. It has yet to be used.

“It’s just for limited occasions,” Jensen said of the new Oak Bay bylaw. “The limit is three times a year at this point. If this goes well we can think of extending it as we get used to Skype and teleconferencing.”

Other elements of the electronic move for the municipality is a revamped website and electronic agendas.

“We’re going to try to go paperless,” Jensen said.

Just Posted

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Victoria Guard Commander leads group of snowmen after ceremony cancelled

Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Irwin wasn’t going to let a bit of snow strip him of his duties

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read