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City of Prince Rupert to begin streaming council meedings online

City of Prince Rupert’ IT department’s Marko Kessler said the community will soon be able to watch council meetings live on the computer. - Monica Lamb-Yorski
City of Prince Rupert’ IT department’s Marko Kessler said the community will soon be able to watch council meetings live on the computer.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski

Prince Rupert City Council meetings will be soon be accessible from home through a live stream on computer.

Over the last month, the City’s IT department has been tweaking the service and began recording online at the first council meeting in 2011.

“In the past we only had audio recordings as you recall, so now we’ve been doing video. It’s a two-part project. We will be putting past videos on the website and streaming live. Our plan is to try and beam down on February 28 so people can see the trial run,” said Marko Kessler of the City’s IT department.

Since 2007, the past audio recordings of council meetings have been posted on the City’s website, but the IT department wanted to make some changes with the videos so that viewers could be more selective.

“When we first set up the videos, you pressed play and you had to watch the whole thing. We wanted to set it up like YouTube style so you can click in the middle, it will hob and buffer in the middle, and you can just watch a portion of it,” Kessler said. “We also set it up so you can watch it full screen.”

On Valentine’s Day, Kessler and his co-worker Anson Yeung will do an internal trial of the live stream.

“I’ll watch it from home and Anson can run it from City Hall,” said Kessler.

For years the community has been able to watch council meetings broadcasted locally on Channel 10. That will continue, but the live feed will now be split to go to one of the computers for the live streaming.

“It’s the exact same program that goes to Channel 10 and we’ve added a twenty dollar piece of gear to make it happen. Nine tenths of the infrastructure was there,” Kessler said with a grin.

Whether Prince Rupert is catching up to other communities of similar size or not with the new technology Kessler doesn’t know, but he is convinced that the technology will give wider access to the community to council meetings.

“I know there are some people that don’t have cable and can’t watch it so we thought it would be a good idea. We’ve been thinking about doing this for about a year,” said Kessler.

The live stream will be available at www.video.princerupert.ca.

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