Vernon councillor loses link to website

Coun. Bob Spiers used to have a link to his personal blog under council contact information

Strict City of Vernon policies on website links have sidelined a politician.

Coun. Bob Spiers used to have a link to his personal blog under council contact information on the city website. However, it’s been removed now that rules for third-party links have been approved.

“It’s no big deal. The amount of traffic that was redirected from that link was minimal,” said Spiers.

“It has been on that site for at least eight years so it was a good run.”

Spiers’ blog has been impacted by the part of the policy that states the city will not post external links for websites of a clear political nature.

Primarily, Spiers’ blog, contains media reports from a number of sources and links to city reports and agendas.

However, he does occasionally provide comment at http://vernonblog.blogspot.ca.

Spiers says the city’s policy is not censorship.

“It’s no big deal. Links come and go and if that’s their policy, that’s fine,” he said.

A recent request from a third party to add a link to the city’s website led to specific parameters for future situations.

“This is best practises advised by our web designer,” said Tanya Laing Gahr, the city’s communications officer.

The city will consider posting external links on its website if the link is directed to the website of another level of government, an organization receiving a city grant, service clubs operating in Vernon who perform service work related to city initiatives, a company that has tendered work with the city and events posted on the city calendar.

The city will not post external links on its website to personal websites or business or service club websites not performing service work for the city.

Officials insist a link on the city website does not mean they support the information  provided.

“It is merely a link and does not suggest administration and council endorses the website itself,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer.