Before the end of the year residents of East Hawkesbury should be able to watch their local council dealing with municipal business from the comfort of their own homes. Township staff is testing an electronic teleconferencing system that will allow remote viewing of council sessions.
Before the end of the year residents of East Hawkesbury should be able to watch their local council dealing with municipal business from the comfort of their own homes. Township staff is testing an electronic teleconferencing system that will allow remote viewing of council sessions.

Stay home and watch council at work

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
East Hawkesbury residents may soon be able to watch their local council at work without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.

Township administration is working on an electronic teleconferencing system that will allow residents to watch the local council meetings. A beta-version of the system was tested during last month’s session of council, but it was limited to viewing from the laptops of municipal staff and council members.

“We’re pushing to have it ready as soon as possible,” said Luc Lalonde township chief administrator, during an October 8 phone interview.

The system will get tested again towards the end of October and should be ready to “go live” in November. Residents will be able to sign in through the municipal website and watch a livestream of the council meeting on YouTube.

Township staff began researching the feasibility of a virtual council system at the start of the pandemic. Other municipalities have teleconference systems that allow residents to watch their local councils. Some systems allow write-in questions for council to deal with during the question period portion of the meeting.

East Hawkesbury’s teleconference setup will be similar to the one that The Nation uses. Cost for the system will be covered through funds left over from a municipal modernization grant the township received from the province last year.