Brigus steps into the future

Town using iPads for council minutes

Nicholas Mercer - Special to The Telegram
Published on April 11, 2014

Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway holds one of the new computer tablets being used by members of the town council.

Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass

The Town of Brigus is using a lot less paper these days.

That’s because the town has recently purchased and have started using computer tablets during monthly council meetings.

“It’s a great thing,” said Mayor Byron Rodway.

The devices allow councillors to access the minutes for the meeting electronically using Dropbox, an online storage site.

The town purchased eight devices – one for each councillor and one for town clerk Wayne Rose – at $400 each last month.

They will eliminate the some 500 copies necessary for every meeting, and at 10 cents per copy, the iPads could pay for themselves within six months.

Like any new piece of technology, there is usually an adjustment period. For Rodway and his councillors it was no different as they have used their new toys just once.

“There was a lot of looking around from councillors,” he said.

With the purchase of the devices, Brigus joins a select group in the Trinity-Conception-Placentia region using electronic copies of their minutes.

Along with Bay Roberts, Brigus is the only town using them, although there have been whispers that Carbonear is looking into purchasing them.

The idea was first brought to the table by Rose.

Looking at other towns, like Bay Roberts and Conception Bay South, he noticed not a lot of small towns were using the devices.

“We made the move to step forward. For a smaller town, let’s do it,” said Rodway.


A new world

“Bob Dylan said, ‘the times, they are a changin,'" said Rodway. “He wrote a song to that affect.”

He does not classify himself as a technological person. Rodway still uses a flip cellular phone, although he will be getting a smartphone, and had very little experience with a tablet computer before using one with the town.

“Technologically challenged is what they call it,” said Rodway.

Despite his lack of experience, Rodway is excited at the prospects available to the council through these devices.


Better convenience

Before the purchase of the tablets, councillors would have to ensure they were at the town hall before it closed at 4 p.m. the Monday before the monthly meeting to pick up their agenda.

If they did not, they might not become familiar with the contents until the meeting itself.

Now, Rose sends out an email to each councillor telling them their agenda is ready to be downloaded onto their computers.

“This is with me wherever I go and when (Rose) loads the agenda into Dropbox, or whatever he does with it, I’ve got it,” said Rodway. “It’s going to be cost effective, but the big part is convenience.”

They do away with the days of councillors lugging binders full of policy and council minutes around with them.

While there are still paper copies of all the minutes, it significantly cuts down on the amount being used by the town.

With the purchase, Brigus is taking a leadership role in the region.

“I never thought we’d have these,” said Rodway.