Southland District Council is utilising its video conferencing resources at the hearing for submissions to the Representation Review Initial Proposal and Stewart Island Levy Policy and Bylaw next week.
Video conferencing capability was introduced to Council in 2011. Chief Information Officer Damon Campbell said that the sheer size of the Southland District and the volume of travel to meetings by Councillors and staff was the trigger for exploring the option of video conferencing facilities.
"There have been multiple advantages stemming from the use of video conferencing. As well as the obvious reduction in time and costs, video conferencing is a safer alternative for individuals who would otherwise have to travel to meetings, particularly in the winter season," Mr Campbell said.
"The sound and visual elements of the technology is top quality and is the next best thing to having the person sitting in the same room."
Since its inception at Council, video conferencing has been used at a number of Council meetings, most recently by submitters in Te Anau to the Freedom Camping Bylaw. Staff at area offices throughout the district communicate regularly through video conferencing at monthly meetings and the equipment has also been used for recruitment purposes by Southland District Council’s Human Resources Department.
Next week’s hearings will be set up to provide people with an opportunity to speak to their submissions without having to travel to Invercargill. Submissions to the Representation Review by residents in Te Anau will be carried out via the video conferencing facilities and submissions to the Stewart Island Levy Policy and Bylaw will be screened in the Council Chambers from Stewart Island via Skype.
"Other agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Transport and local groups such as the Community Boards have used Council’s video conferencing equipment and have benefited from the investment into this technology," Mr Campbell said.
The hearings for the Representation Review Initial Proposal and Stewart Island Levy Policy and Bylaw will take place on 15 and 16 October at Southland District Council Chambers, Invercargill.
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