City needs to polish up technical clarity

Claudette Sandecki misses council's Enbridge vote due to technical difficulties, she says.

The evening of February 13 I watched the entire Terrace council meeting on-line waiting for councillors to vote on whether to remain neutral or support the Enbridge pipeline.

At the end of two and a half irritating hours of  audio difficulties, just as the mayor asked, “Those opposed?”, the Kermode bear filled the screen and I neither saw nor heard council’s final vote on Enbridge.

The audio fault may have originated in my computer. Or a glitch in the city’s broadcasting system might have been responsible for its cranky behaviour.

All evening the reception was similar to a 1920’s movie with jerky movements and stuttery speech. So jerky were movements it’s a wonder those at the council table didn’t suffer whiplash. One moment the mayor was looking to his left.

The next moment he was jerked to looking right. Near the end of the broadcast the entire assemblage was snapping left or right like comics watching a tennis match.

Worst was the Morse code speech. I’ve heard severely handicapped people with extreme speech impediments who were more relaxing and informative to listen to.

Seldom did the system broadcast more than three words at a gulp, and unlike YouTube where following a break the sound resumes seamlessly exactly where it left off so you miss nothing, here the sound took up farther along, skipping a gap so large not even a Bailey bridge could have linked the two verbal fragments.

At no time did anyone utter a complete sentence. A couple came closer than others, though. Whether it was dependent upon their delivery, tone, speed of utterance, or volume, several times both the mayor and councillor Bidgood almost achieved a full, comprehensible sentence. Mostly, I was left guessing.

I got that Yvonne Moen would like to collect photographs of paddle wheelers and river landings, and a summer fair has been extended to five days.

Seems the city is concerned about backyard bees stinging neighbours or passers-by, hence the need for a by-law regulating a buffer zone around the hives.

Rudy said bees fly three miles. At one point he must have said something funny; everyone laughed. The broadcast did not let me in on his humour. Councillor Christiansen seemed to be in favour of bees, harking back to her childhood.

A city employee said  that two people have signed on to raise backyard chickens since the by-law was passed last spring.

He also talked something about dogs falling out of car windows, or being left in overheated cars. Not sure what that was all about.

How to name streets came up for discussion. The mayor mentioned Talstra and Maroney, but beats me what his comment was. Christiansen said, “We know these people, their names mean something.” Holding a contest as they did to name Brollie Square did not find favour; too time consuming, I gathered.

Finally, the agenda reached the Enbridge vote to oppose or support the pipeline. Of 39 viewers who had tuned in, six of us hung on until the discussion and vote. I heard mere snatches of the discussion. Bidgood,  motioning to the lectern, said, “He stood right there when I asked him how many have you turned down?” Whatever the person replied, Bidgood said, “That changed my opinion.”

I heard the call for “All in favour?” A gap in the broadcast didn’t let me  count the hands raised.

When the mayor called for those opposed to the motion, and the Kermode bear filled the screen, I was so frustrated by the waste of my time I wolfed down nine 40-calorie cookies.

A phone call to city hall next morning let me know the fault was not in my computer. Other disappointed citizens had phoned, too.