MUST REID TV: Online views of Kamloops council meetings triple | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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MUST REID TV: Online views of Kamloops council meetings triple


Viewers are tuning into into Kamloops city council chambers to watch the local government show.

Both in-person and online, Kamloops is checking in with much greater numbers to watch how their new council functions, or fails to, nearly tripling the average online views compared to last year.

Since the COVID pandemic, residents have options. They can now watch their elected leaders in livestreamed meetings either on Zoom or Youtube instead of going in-person.

Council meetings averaged about 45 views per video from March to June in 2022, but that's up to 145 in 2023, with a newer and livelier council, according to numbers shared with from the City.

And why not? Council has provided almost daily dramatics between the mayor and council, but also a lengthy stream of those councillors — many new — making a show of it.

The largest turnout came in a meeting directly following a March press conference where councillors accused Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson of being "erratic" and claimed he showed "disrespect" toward other councillors repeatedly. On Youtube, 363 people watched the meeting, with 216 watching the Zoom livestream.

Those livestreams averaged 65 participants per meeting, reaching below ten viewers for just four of them and more than 100 for three. They aren't huge numbers, but Chief Administrative Officer David Trawin said views over Zoom have also doubled on average since the last council, which previously would have mostly been staff.

The next most viewed meeting was on April 11 when coun. Katie Neustaeter's ban on public drug use was debated. On Youtube, 303 people tuned in to watch the meetings and 173 participants combined tuned into the three Zoom streams that day.

Trawin added the in-person audience is greater than it was during the previous council too, even before COVID.

That's resulted in more people standing up to the podium in council chambers to share their frustrations, often with social issues and crime, or simply an audience to watch the proceedings.

"I think what happens with a new council is that people are more optimistic that in speaking to their council things will happen of they can make a difference," he said. "When things don't happen, for various reasons, they get frustrated and tend to come out less."

It's been more than six months since the election, but the audience continues to show up and views keep rising online.

Occasionally, some audience members have jeered or booed councillors during more heated debates, which has been directed at Coun. Dale Bass at least twice in the past three months.

In previous years, the audience would include media, people on the agenda for delegations, or people who might speak to a specific land use issue that would be voted on that day, Trawin said.

The new council has been lively with heated exchanges and backdoor frustrations that either creep in through coded language, or blown wide open with a press conference.

This week's council meeting was another clear example of a council being tested, with Hamer-Jackson facing accusations that he failed to abide by the will of council because he personally disagreed with their vote.

The attendance and audience numbers might not sound impressive, but for local government engagement, it's off the charts and becoming must-see TV.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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