Sidney webcasting of council to begin in 2016

Profanity, violence and defamatory comments to be edited.

Once webcasting of Sidney council meetings begins easy next year, select portions of the recordings could be edited out.

The Town of Sidney is set to begin webcasting council meetings in early 2016. The camera is already in place and points directly at the council table.

“It’s pointed here, it’s not pointed at you guys,” said Councillor Tim Chad, addressing the crowd at Monday night’s meeting, in regards to the camera position.

Councillors approved the idea back in July and will have audio and video recordings of each public meeting uploaded to the Town’s website. The webcasts will not be live, but made available on the Town’s website within two business days.

Those recordings, however, could be missing some segments if people don’t behave themselves during the meetings themselves.

In addition to profanity and acts of violence, Coun. Peter Wainwright wanted defamatory comments added to the list of what could be removed from posted video.

He referenced a case where a member of the public, during a presentation to council, made defamatory comments, saying those should not be included in the video copies.

Council agreed and approved the change to their webcasting policy.

Signs will be posted at council chambers, letting people know public sessions will be recorded. While the approved policy states webcasts will be made available, posting the videos online “is not a requirement.”

Webcasts will also be made available for three years through the Town’s website (sidney.ca). Older entries may be removed and made available only by request.

North Saanich has been webcasting its council meetings since 2011. Central Saanich has been doing so since 2013.