News

Central Saanich regulates recording

The District of Central Saanich has adopted a policy which restricts the video or audio recording of district meetings by members of the public.

“The initiative for this is the apparent lack of clarity with respect to what council has provided as far as policy direction,” said councillor Alastair Bryson.

“The intent of the motion is to provide a bit more of a framework around when it is acceptable for a public meeting to be video or audio recorded,” Bryson added.

He cited members of advisory committees who may be uncomfortable with their meetings being recorded. “These members are volunteers from the community, they are not political, not elected by the public, they are appointed by council — it seems reasonable with privacy concerns, to provide them the opportunity to speak freely and without concern,” he said.

The audio or video recording of district meeting by members of the public without specific approval is only permitted at open council, standing committee meetings and public hearings and such recording may only occur while the meeting is in session with a quorum of members present and subject to the mayor’s or presiding member’s authority to preserve the order of the meeting. Advisory bodies retain the discretion to consider a special request to record a specific meeting, submitted in advance of the meeting, on a case-by-case basis.

Council members also had a short discussion about recording the meetings themselves.

“In open council meetings people have to give their name and address, it does seem to be a bit of an intrusion, if that information ends up on Facebook or a website. It becomes broader general knowledge than they intended,” said councillor Terry Siklenka.

“There are public meetings when people do stand and say their name and it’s recorded due to the public nature of the meeting, I don’t have any issue with that,” said Bryson. “We could take it a step further and have the district record public meetings and post them to our website.”

Council asked staff to estimate the cost of installing audio and video recording equipment to record all regular meetings and post them online. That information will be brought to budget deliberations.

editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

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