District approves online comment system

North Saanich will seek public ideas and input online in a pilot program called Civic Ideas.

It’s new, it’s online and it’s free.

North Saanich will seek public ideas and input online in a pilot program called Civic Ideas.

It’s a web application, a public-driven portal, allowing residents to share ideas with the municipality.

It’s being offered to the district at no cost and the municipality decided on Feb. 25 to go for it. Council at its committee of the whole session on Feb. 25 granted staff permission to set it up with the application’s developers, with the expectation that final approval would come later.

In a nutshell, Civic Ideas is a website offering a few fields in which people can offer comment. To be able to do so, people must create a login ID and identify themselves to have secure access. The comments can be viewed by anyone, but only those who have registered can add their input.

The district’s network support technician, Rick Fedrigo says the system will require two or three hours of staff time each week to moderate the comments. An auto filter will be able to keep out most inappropriate posts, he said, but staff will have to monitor the rest.

Mayor Final noted this will be a good addition to the district’s existing suggestion box, which allows residents to drop of comments and ideas at the district office.