Council eyes digital tablets to axe paper

Terrace's city council is looking to digitalize its meetings by using computer tablets on which to access information and also communicate.

  • Tue May 15th, 2012 11:00am
  • News

Terrace’s city council is keen to do away with stacks of paper used for meetings by instead using digital tablets.

The rational is the flat, touch-screen computerized tablets would not only save on paper consumption and costs but make it easier for all to share information and vote on decisions if some council members are out of town and need to connect.

At last night’s meeting, council decided to explore options for how to go about this — from software costs, makes and models of tablets including their cost, and what kind of systems are on the tables of other councils in B.C. that use them for city business.

Based on a preliminary report from city staff, eight tablets would cost the city an estimated $11,500, including both hardware, software and initial setup.

The tablets have a life of 3 to 4 years, said the report, which estimated 2013 as the year tablets are purchased and policy around their use is developed.

Council members had various opinions about the idea.

While all leaned in favour, the logistics about how to integrate them highlighted differences.

It might be a good thing not to roll it out all at once,” said councillor Marylin Davies, adding it may take some time to learn to use the technology.

Initially, councillor Bruce Bidgood suggested having the system ready by the time a new council starts so that it could be fresh for everyone there.

I’m not in favour of it coming in next year,” he said.

But Councillor Brian Downie was keen to start sooner.

(Let’s) try them out now,” he said, adding that by bringing them in sooner it could lead to more productivity.

Both councillors Lynne Christiansen and James Cordeiro were hesitant to spent $11,500.

Seems a bit steep,” said Cordeiro. “They’re only lasting 3 to 4 years.”

Christiansen said that she liked the idea, but not for that price.

A report will come back to council once more research has been done.