North Saanich launches online commenting

Pilot program allows residents to share ideas, comments

Residents of North Saanich with great ideas for their municipal council now have an additional way to let the District know.

This week, the District of North Saanich launched an online public ideas forum, the first B.C. municipality to use this specific platform. People can find it at www.dnsideasforum.ca. It’s a pilot project for the municipality, says Mayor Alice Finall, and a way for the people to post ideas, vote and comment on them and respond to decisions of council. It’s a way for people who might not be able to get to a council meeting, or who might feel uncomfortable with being in a public forum in person, to address council.

“It gives (people) a quick and informal means of expressing ideas to council,” Finall explained, adding it’s another way residents can respond to council decisions and the business of the municipality.

“It has launched and now we are interested to see how it takes.”

The Ideas Forum website allows people to sign up or simply add their ideas and comments. Others will be able to add their thoughts on the issues raised. The site will be monitored by staff, said Finall, who will be keeping tabs on the posts to ensure they meet the posted policy on online behaviour.

Finall said staff will prepare reports on the ideas and comments from the site. From there, she said council will be able to respond to specific concerns or comments. She admitted that the District is feeling its way ahead with this program and could be making changes along the way to ensure the pilot works well for the community.

“This is a new initiative to enhance our community dialogue goals,” said Rob Buchan, Chief Administrative Officer in a media release. “We are fortunate to have been given this service from our Webcast provider, Granicus, free of charge in recognition of the pioneering work North Saanich has already undertaken in webcasting on Vancouver Island.”