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REPORTING · 20th December 2009
Walter McFarlane
“I don‘t like the news you're giving us. There is not a whole bunch we can do. It seems that we are always in the back seat of Terrace and they always get what they want and we have to sort of come along in behind,” said Mayor Joanne Monaghan at the end of a discussion.

At a Committee of the Whole on November 30th, Chad Cunningham from Citywest had come to speak to council about the upgrades at the station and how they would affect the Kitimat City Council Meetings in the future. Most of the upgrade was good news but one particular item created quite a debate over the possible solutions.

The big change is the combining of the cable service in Kitimat with the cable service in Terrace. The aspects of the change include an improvement to the internet services in Kitimat, Digital Cable, high definition television options and a Citywest home phone service.

However, one aspect of the change is that Channel 10 from Terrace will Merge with Channel 10 in Kitimat. The advantage is that there will be more content from both communities airing on Channel 10. The bad news is that now Terrace and Kitimat City Councils are competing for the same time slot on Monday Nights.

The option that Citywest is offering is to show the meetings in Terrace live on Monday Night and record the City Council Meetings in Kitimat and show them at 7:30 on Tuesday night. Mayor Monaghan was not impressed with this option and offered a compromise.

She suggested having one week that is live from Kitimat and one week that is live from Terrace. Cunningham said that it was an option but there was a problem with that. He thought it would be better to market the City Council Meetings with regular time slots. In addition, it could be confusing to the home audiences in Terrace and Kitimat over which council they were watching.

Cunningham added that this idea had been run by the Terrace Council as well and they did not like it. Mayor Monaghan pointed out that if the shoe was on the other foot and that Kitimat was live and Terrace was recorded, the Terrace City Council would not be pleased with this turn of events either.

Councillor Randy Halyk on the other hand asked administration if there was any problem moving the televised meeting of council from the second and fourth Monday of the Month to the first and third Monday of the month, an idea he attributed to Bob Corless.

Cunningham pointed out that this would be one of the best solutions. Mayor Monaghan asked administration if this was an option. Community Clerk Walter McLellen stated that the date could be changed. as it was determined by Bylaw.

Councillor Richard McLaren was looking in a different direction. “A bigger question is, can we change our venue now that you have this cable system all fixed up?”

Cunningham explained that the system that they are working towards sends an IP stream to their system in Terrace to appear on the channel. This is a grand plan for the community channel and for the moment, they still need a cable connection to council. However, they would be willing to work with council if they wished to move the venue.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff suspected that both publics in Kitimat and Terrace expected to view live meetings on Monday. He suggested that the best solution was to flip a coin rather than have the two communities fight it out over the time slot. In fact, he even suggested inviting the Prince Rupert City Council into the mix.

He asked the Citywest volunteers who film the council meetings (who were present) what they thought of the change and how it would affect them. They replied that they did not know the full details of the new system but from what they understood, by not being live, it would mean work for them as they would have to take the footage to the Kitimat Citywest facility and upload it to Terrace.

Councillor Feldhoff asked for further information on this facility. Cunningham explained that Citywest is finalizing the purchase of a new facility in the industrial area. The next step of their process is to install new systems that will run the internet and provide digital cable. He suggested that a timeline for them to install product was March but he did not want to give a specific date.

Councillor Rob Goffinet asked if the volunteers had any scheduling problems if the council changed the Mondays that they held their meetings. The volunteers pointed out that there would be more work if they aired a recording.

At this point, Mayor Monaghan gave the above quote. Councillor Mario Feldhoff reminded her that they could always flip a coin. Cunningham and the volunteers left the meeting.