Council looks to replace paper with iPads

Councillors Ken Christian and Pat Wallace go over the agenda on one of the new iPads being used as part of a pilot project to reduce paper waste.

KAMLOOPS – Printing agendas and reports for staff, council and the public results in a pile of paper about two feet high every meeting and costs the city $30,000 every year.

The city is now piloting a project where council would access the agenda and all reports through an Apple iPad. Several councillors are already part of the pilot project and while several councillors are excited about the idea, others are more “old school” and will likely stick with the pen and paper approach.

Most of council has already been using laptops for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, though iPads are also being tried out as an alternative. Coun. Pat Wallace says while she is hooked up with both the regional district and the city, she still prefers paper.

“I like paper in front of me,” she says simply.

Don't think it's an age thing either. As one of the younger councillors, Nelly Dever says she also prefers paper and though she doesn't have a cell phone, she does use an iPad at home to stay connected.

“I need several things in front of me. I'm a highlighter and sticky girl,” she says, adding it's not an age thing at all. “I'm one of the youngest... but I'm old school.”

Coun. Arjun Singh says he is completely opposite and actually doesn't like a lot of paper hanging around. Singh tried to use his tablet PC back in 2005 for council but it didn't work out as well as the iPad does. He finds the new tablet (he's using his own and is not part of the pilot group) very useful, especially for making notes on the document or doing research on the fly.

Mayor Peter Milobar points out most of the directors come to council meetings with their laptops and having council use iPads is no different than those computer work stations.

“I think people would be surprised we're not connected in that way,” he says.

While Milobar believes the cost savings will be minimal to the taxpayer, being able to cut the amount of paper used for meetings in half would be much better for the environment.

The iPads were purchased for the pilot program and will remain property of the city. If council decides to not follow through on replacing the paper agendas with iPads for council the tablets would be repurposed for another department within the city.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.


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