Video cameras will still be able to roll at Regional District of North Okanagan meetings.
After a lengthy discussion Wednesday, directors shot down an administration recommendation that other than media, no one would be allowed to operate audio or video recording devices at a meeting without the chairperson’s permission.
“Everyone has a recording device on their phone,” said director Doug Dirk, who led the charge against the clause in a proposed procedures bylaw.
“If it’s a public meeting, people should be able to record meetings.”
Staff defended the recommendation.
“It’s not to restrict anyone but to make you (board) aware that you’re being recorded,” said Paddy Juniper, deputy corporate officer.
Director Hank Cameron expressed some concerns about letting the public record meetings.
“They can edit it and take things out of context,” he said.
“They can cherry-pick the parts they want, put it on the Internet and not reflect the meeting.”
But Cameron’s comments generated a sharp response from Dirk,
“You can’t stop people from doing that,” said Dirk.
Director Kevin Acton spoke in favour of allowing the recording of meetings by telling his colleagues they have a personal responsibility to avoid controversy when video is done.
“We need to be aware of what we say in meetings,” he said.
Bob Fleming, board chairperson, is pleased restrictions on recordings were scrapped.
“The directors got it right,” he said.
“It’s a public meeting and with the proliferation of recording devices, it would be difficult to tell if someone is recording or not. Who will police that, not me.”
Fleming isn’t concerned that videos will be edited to portray the board negatively.
“I don’t think the risk is severe. We’re not alone in the meetings, there’s lots of witnesses. It’s easy to refute things,” he said.