Council recordings coming to Gananoque

Gananoque Town Hall – Hollie Pratt-Campbell/Brockvilleist

It’s looking more and more like the recording and availability of council meetings for viewing will be coming to Gananoque.

Currently, the town’s council meetings can be viewed via the teleconference or video conference method, however, the meetings are not recorded and can’t be viewed afterwards.

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands council meetings, meanwhile, are recorded and shown live on the township’s YouTube platform and can be viewed at any time after the completion of the meeting.

This is something Mayor John Beddows has pushed for his council to have ever since he ran for the mayoralty and then ultimately unseated Ted Lojko.

Doing so, Beddows said, offers more transparency and connects the community with council members.

On Nov. 7, council passed a motion to direct the clerk to investigate and recommend a means of recording and making publicly available recordings of open council sessions and meetings.

As directed, staff investigated the matter, and has offered the following for council’s information: all open session and meetings of council can be recorded and made available on the town’s website for viewing following the proceedings. There is no additional cost in providing this initiative. The town has an agreement with WebEx that includes recording of meetings, at no additional cost.

This initiative is certainly doable, however, staff have noted that there are many concerns regarding the poor audio quality within council chambers for both in-person and virtual attendees with the current audio system.

In an effort to resolve this matter, the 2024 capital budget approved staff’s recommendation for the purchase and installation of a new microphone system at a cost of $26,000. The microphones will be located on the desks of each council member, senior management and delegation.

Staff recommend that prior to making the recordings publicly available, the microphones be installed and tested to ensure the audio quality will satisfy the needs of the audience, both in-person and virtual.

The audio system has been ordered and it is estimated that the receipt of equipment, installation and testing will take place over the next four to five weeks. Staff project a start date for council meetings to be the first meeting in June.

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