Citizens can now watch Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN–NDG) council meetings live on the borough’s website.
The borough has reached an agreement with WEBTV.COOP to broadcast its public meetings on the web, starting with the Dec. 3 council meeting.
Residents in four boroughs out of 19 (CDN-NDG, the Plateau, Verdun and Rosemont–La-Petite-Patrie) can watch council meetings on the web if they can’t make it in person.
Interim mayor Lionel Perez has made good on a promise that he made when he announced his successful candidacy to replace Michael Applebum, who left to become Montreal’s mayor.
“WebTV is a coop that handles web broadcasts at Montreal’s city hall,” explained the former Darlington district councillor in an interview. “The costs are quite low. What’s important is demonstrating a willingness to be transparent and regain people’s trust. It is now easier for residents to watch and participate in local democracy – we’re always trying be on the cutting edge. We have to look at the most effective ways of restoring the citizenry’s trust.”
Public meetings can be viewed on the WEBTV.COOP site the next day, according to production director Pierre-Cyril Denant. It won’t be the meeting in its entirety, just four clips: the mayor’s report, the residents’ question period, the councillors’ question period, and council reports, which are discussed and voted upon by council members.
Smart phones and tablets with internet access can be used to watch the proceedings, but some Apple products like the iPad and the iPhone don’t have a compatible media player as of yet.
The situation is temporary, says Denant. By next spring Apple mobile device users won’t have to download an app. “It’ll be the same for everyone,” says the technician, “we’ll do the updates on our platform so that the videos are available on iPhones and iPads – we’ve had lots of requests for it.”
Until then he suggests a workaround for Apple mobile device users - installing a flash player with a flash-compatible web browser. We downloaded the $3 Photon app for our iPhone 4 – no need for a password and a user name.
Once the settings are entered you open the app and go to the borough’s Conseil en direct page and click on the WebTV link to access the video on the WEBTV.COOP site. You need to be a bit computer savvy, but it only took a few minutes.
As another sign of increased transparency, council meeting documents like reports to council will now be made public and available online the morning of the scheduled meeting.
They can be downloaded in PDF format on the borough’s home page by going to thePublications section.
The executive council of the City of Montreal has also recently made an attempt to enhance the democratic process – citizens can now follow its public deliberations on the web./ Marie Cicchini /