Bri­gus steps into the fu­ture

Town us­ing ipads for coun­cil min­utes

The Compass - - NEWS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The Town of Bri­gus is us­ing a lot less paper these days. That’s be­cause the town has re­cently pur­chased and have started us­ing com­puter tablets dur­ing monthly coun­cil meet­ings. “It’s a great thing,” said Mayor By­ron Rod­way. The de­vices al­low coun­cil­lors to ac­cess the min­utes for the meet­ing elec­tron­i­cally us­ing Drop­box, an on­line stor­age site.

The town pur­chased eight de­vices – one for each coun­cil­lor and one for town clerk Wayne Rose – at $400 each last month.

They will elim­i­nate the some 500 copies nec­es­sary for ev­ery meet­ing, and at 10 cents per copy, the ipads could pay for them­selves within six months.

Like any new piece of tech­nol­ogy, there is usu­ally an ad­just­ment pe­riod. For Rod­way and his coun­cil­lors it was no dif­fer­ent as they have used their new toys just once. “There was a lot of look­ing around from coun­cil­lors,” he said. With the pur­chase of the de­vices, Bri­gus joins a se­lect group in the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia re­gion us­ing elec­tronic copies of their min­utes.

Along with Bay Roberts, Bri­gus is the only town us­ing them, al­though there have been whis­pers that Car­bon­ear is look­ing into pur­chas­ing them. The idea was first brought to the ta­ble by Rose. Look­ing at other towns, like Bay Roberts and Con­cep­tion Bay South, he no­ticed not a lot of small towns were us­ing the de­vices.

“We made the move to step for­ward. For a smaller town, let’s do it,” said Rod­way.

A new world

“Bob Dy­lan said, ‘the times, they are a changin,’” said Rod­way. “He wrote a song to that af­fect.”

He does not clas­sify him­self as a tech­no­log­i­cal per­son. Rod­way still uses a flip cel­lu­lar phone, al­though he will be get­ting a smart­phone, and had very lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence with a tablet com­puter be­fore us­ing one with the town. “Tech­no­log­i­cally chal­lenged is what they call it,” said Rod­way. De­spite his lack of ex­pe­ri­ence, Rod­way is ex­cited at the prospects avail­able to the coun­cil through these de­vices.

Bet­ter con­ve­nience

Be­fore the pur­chase of the tablets, coun­cil­lors would have to en­sure they were at the town hall be­fore it closed at 4 p.m. the Mon­day be­fore the monthly meet­ing to pick up their agenda.

If they did not, they might not be­come fa­mil­iar with the con­tents un­til the meet­ing it­self.

Now, Rose sends out an email to each coun­cil­lor telling them their agenda is ready to be down­loaded onto their com­put­ers.

“This is with me wher­ever I go and when (Rose) loads the agenda into Drop­box, or what­ever he does with it, I’ve got it,” said Rod­way. “It’s go­ing to be cost ef­fec­tive, but the big part is con­ve­nience.”

They do away with the days of coun­cil­lors lug­ging binders full of pol­icy and coun­cil min­utes around with them.

While there are still paper copies of all the min­utes, it sig­nif­i­cantly cuts down on the amount be­ing used by the town. With the pur­chase, Bri­gus is tak­ing a lead­er­ship role in the re­gion. “I never thought we’d have these,” said Rod­way.

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