BANFF – The Town of Banff is looking to record meetings of the Development Appeal Board and the Municipal Planning Commission and publish them on the municipality’s website for greater transparency.
Currently, meetings of the quasi-judicial appeal board and planning commission have been live-streamed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are not recorded or published on the municipality’s website.
Libbey McDougall, municipal clerk for the Town of Banff, said no problems have arisen with recording the live-stream of council or governance and finance meetings to date, adding administration recommends including DAB and MPC in the policy that governs this.
“Having these both online will make them so much more accessible for the public,” she said.
“As normal, all confidential matters will be held in-camera, in closed sessions, and those recordings obviously don’t exist.”
Meetings of council and its governance and finance committee have been live-streamed since September 2019 following a push from many residents seeking greater transparency in council’s decision-making and promoting public participation for those who can’t attend in-person.
Having the system and technology already in place proved invaluable when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020 and all in-person council and governance and finance meetings went virtual.
McDougall said the Town of Banff expects to transition back to in-person meetings, or some hybrid form, sometime this fall.
“We thought it would be appropriate to bring the policy back at this point in time,” she said.
“We do think there’s a great possibility to have more hybrid-esque meetings going forward and some of the committees may benefit from this.”
McDougall said the video recordings for DAB and MPC meetings, like those for council and the governance and finance committee, will be stored on Vimeo, which has near unlimited storage capacity.
“There is no anticipated budget ramifications at this time and is currently within the operating budget,” she said.
The policy does use permissive language that would allow other committees, such as the Banff Heritage Corporation, Banff Community Art Committee and the Community Grants Committee, to live-stream their meetings too.
For now, it would be up to the committees to determine if they would like to do that, but if council wished to purse that, administration would bring a budget request later this year during 20222 service review for technology to be set up in the board rooms in which they meet.
“Certainly, council can decide to include specifically those committees, but it would probably require a little bit of further research to determine if we need to do some retrofitting of areas they are meeting,” McDougall said.
Council will make a final decision on whether to include DAB and MPC in the recording policy when the document comes back at a future council meeting.