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Alberni regional district goes iTech
Alberni Clayoquot Regional District directors are going paperless by going high-tech.
The directors and staff will be using new iPads to read their agenda, reports and correspondence instead of paper, manager of administrative services Wendy Thomson said.
The iPads recently arrived at the ACRD offices and directors will be giving the new system a trial run at this week’s meeting, Thomson said.
The move is unique to municipal bodies in the Alberni Valley but it’s not a new idea, Thomson said. “A lot of other city bodies and regional districts use this,” she said.
Other municipal bodies also use iPads, and the ACRD can benefit from hitting the ground running with consistent hardware and policy issues, ACRD IT manager George Rose said.
ACRD directors were given an orientation on the new system last Wednesday by Rose, who had his hands full. “The size of the group was a bit cumbersome and we had an issue with a router so it was stressful at first,” Rose said. “But they’re an eager group and they’ll be returning for some one-on-one training later.”
One benefit to the ACRD is that staff no longer have to scan, photocopy and assemble hundreds of pages for multiple agenda packages. “They can now convert the electronic documents into a PDF and download it onto the iPad,” Rose said.
There are one time costs to obtaining the iPads. But according to an ACRD report going paperless is expected to save the regional district $3,600 per year.
Across the road, the City of Port Alberni is watching the ACRD’s e-initiative with interest, city clerk Davina Hartwell said. “We’re watching to see how the pieces unfold there,” Hartwell said.
Hartwell watched a demonstration of the system while at a city clerks’ conference recently.
The City of Chilliwack demonstrated how they used this system to put agenda packages together, download them to iPads, and even how directors could link to reports and make comments to them, she said. Hartwell immediately saw savings in terms of paper, photocopier and labour costs, she added.
There are official channels to go through to advance the initiative but the upside makes it worth pitching. “I think it’s the thing of the future and I think we need to get on that bandwagon,” Hartwell said.