It’s time to give credit where credit is due.
On April 27th, 2015, for the first time ever, a regular meeting of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (“Park Board”) was available on the Internet by live-streamed video. The video streams will also be archived and available for later viewing. Residents should be able to tune in and remotely watch Park Board meetings in the future by selecting the following link:
Video archives of meetings are available, starting with the April 27th meeting. They can be viewed by selecting the date in the calendar on the Vancouver Park Board Media Player page. The main Park Board agenda items are bookmarked and can be accessed individually. The video playback works well on both Macintosh and Windows computers (as well as on tablets and on other mobile devices).
We believe that this is a tremendous step forward in accessibility and transparency of the Park Board. We encourage anyone who feels the same to take a moment and write the PBcommissioners@vancouver.ca with a message of praise. Or write directly to your favourite commissioner. It took a new Board and Chair John Coupar to make breakthrough happen (see further below for details.)
There is still much work to be done for other boards and committees in Vancouver. For example, should the Vancouver School Board also live stream and archive video from meetings? The VSB only makes meeting minutes available (available here). At the City of Vancouver, should the Development Permit Board (a group of just three City employees that has been given ever-more-power in land-use decisions) and Urban Design Panel also live-stream their meetings? (Please consider writing to tell City Council what you think.)
And on to the regional level, as the billion-dollar regional body of the GVRD (Metro Vancouver) also archive video of its Board meetings? (It currently does not.) Should it broadcast its powerful committee meetings? (It currently does not.) MetroVanWatch has declared its top goal for 2015 is to see live and archive web video for ALL Board and committee meetings of this body. Will you join the cause by writing to your elected officials?
There’s still much work to be done in opening up the meetings of public bodies to the public. This move by the Vancouver Park Board is a step in the right direction.New Park Board Chair John Coupar deserves accolades for declaring the goal of Internet video streaming during the inaugural meeting of the new commissioners just after the 2014 civic election. Here is CityHallWatch coverage of that inaugural meeting: New direction for Park Board: Report/analysis of inaugural meeting (3-Dec-2014). Mr. Coupar deserves a special pat on the back.