Mayor Richard Atwell called Monday’s inaugural web cast an historic moment in Saanich’s efforts to engage with citizens                                Wolfgang Depner / News Staff

Mayor Richard Atwell called Monday’s inaugural web cast an historic moment in Saanich’s efforts to engage with citizens Wolfgang Depner / News Staff

Saanich council goes live online

Bring your popcorn, Saanich TV is on air.

Saanich residents — for that matter anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection — can now follow council meetings through a web-based broadcast that went live Monday as council met for a regular and committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Mayor Richard Atwell marked the moment during his opening remarks Monday. “This is really an historical moment for Saanich, as we take another step forward in our citizens’ engagement,” he said.

Saanich has now joined a long list of small and large municipalities in British Columbia, which broadcast their meetings, be it by cable-access television or with the help of a web-based system.

Initial planning for the initiative goes back at least two years, but financial considerations delayed final approval until April of this year, when council approved some $200,000 for the system, which also includes a new audio system and other audio-visual features designed to enhance council meetings.

Staff tested the various components during the summer months and Monday’s opening broadcast appeared to be going well.

Ironically, Monday’s opening broadcast occurred during a meeting that saw close to 100 people fill council chambers. Coun. Judy Brownoff was absent from Monday’s broadcast.