Penticton City Hall in line for audio visual upgrade

Penticton council approves $88,519 contract to upgrade communications equipment in council chambers

Buzzwords aplenty were flying at last week’s regular meeting of Penticton council.

Media-rich environment, user-friendly, improved viewing experience and professional were just a few of the words and phrases being tossed around as council received a staff report on the costs to upgrade the admittedly aging audio visual equipment in council chambers.

“The audio video equipment is really starting to show its age. Eleven years ago when we put it in, it really was cutting edge, but as we all know, technology moves very fast,” said Kirstin Wilkes, the city’s information technology manager. “It was decided that this room was desperately in need of an overhaul.”

That not only includes the microphones speakers and projectors in the room, but the cameras and other systems used to record council meetings and broadcast them online. That is becoming an increasingly important communication channel, said Mayor Dan Ashton, as he justified the $88,519 cost of refurbishing the equipment, which is well over the $75,000 budget allocated to the project during the budget process last year.

“In my first term on council, we used to fill the chamber all the time. Now, there is more and more people that do watch online. That is where our biggest complaints come from,” said Ashton, adding that he feels the upgrades are a step in the right direction, and make a big difference ensuring that council is in full communication with the community.

“Is the time right? The time is right to make sure the information is getting out properly and efficiently.”

City manager Annette Antoniak confirmed that the majority of complaints come from people trying to watch online on their computers at home, citing poor sound quality and problems with streaming to Apple computers, iPads and other devices.

The upgrades will address sound issues, both in council chambers and online, by adding extra speakers and providing councillors with microphones that can be switched off, reducing background noise. But Wilkes said the upgrades will still not deal with compatibility problems for online streaming.

“Our presentations are not compatible if you are watching the broadcast online on a Mac,” she said. “Phase two of this will be done by in-house staff, and that is where we will be taking that into consideration.”

Sensory Perception Technologies, a local company, was awarded the contract to supply and install the new integrated system. It includes “push-to-talk” style microphones, which include a queuing system to track the order of councillors wishing to speak; additional speakers for improved sound; and inputs at each staff location around the table so that staff can control their own presentations without having to rely on the AV technician.

“The price seems large, but one thing to keep in mind here is that the lifespan of these systems is 10 years and can indeed go to 15 years. Our current equipment is 12 years old, and while it is starting to show its age, it still has functioned well for those 12 years,” said Wilkes. She doesn’t, however, think it’s likely that the city can recover any of the cost by selling the old equipment.

“Because it is 12 years old, the odds are not good. We have had some failures of that equipment so I personally would be hesitant,” said Wilkes. “I have spoken to Coun. Jakubeit about reusing some of the components perhaps to assist the RDOS.”


Just Posted

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read