Now is not the time for Prince Rupert to redo its website

The issue of whether or not the City of Prince Rupert should invest in redoing the website is a divisive one.

As you can see in this week’s “on the street”, the issue of whether or not the City should invest in redoing the website so that it can be viewable on Apple products (iPhone, iPad etc…) is a bit of a divisive one.

And I understand why.

On one hand someone looking to invest in Prince Rupert who has an iPad or an iPhone, both popular gadgets among business people, probably wouldn’t look to fondly on not being able to find out information on the community because the website doesn’t mesh with new and popular technology. At the same time, residents who pay their taxes should be able to access relevant and pertinent information from their mobile devices just like any non-Apple user can.

On the other hand at a point when the City is bemoaning a massive infrastructure deficit and looking at having to cut back on grants to community groups and spending in general, it’s pretty tough justifying spending money on a relatively functional website just so it can be seen on devices that the majority of the population doesn’t own and that come with a price tag that make them a bit of a luxury (new iPads seem to start around $400 and new iPhones at about $250).

So while the City will make its decision in due time, I figure I’ll throw my two cents into the debate. The cheapest option to address this website is $9,120 to switch it over to HTML5 and make it readable on Apple devices. I can’t see, at this stage in the game, the justification for it. That is $9,000 that isn’t available to groups that help maintain the quality of life in the city, $9,000 that can’t be used to address the infrastructure issues in town and $9,000 in a budget that needs $450,000 in cost cutting to balance.

Does it need to be done? Yes, but it certainly doesn’t need to be done at the expense of important infrastructure and community groups when the City is in the financial situation it is in.

If the City came into some money or got a grant to help cover the cost then go for the cheap option, but it shouldn’t be a priority for council at the moment.