Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors applauded the efforts of staff for their input into a new, user friendly website.
Brad Payne, the regional district’s information systems co-ordinator, guided directors through the new website at last Thursday’s board meeting in Salmon Arm
“It’s very different; we built it in what we hope is as user friendly as possible,” Payne said, noting one of his favourite features is the interactive mapping. Another feature is the “I want to” tab at the top of the website that allows browsers to search for information using a word or phrase.
Quick Links tabs allow users to find their way easily to bylaws, calendars, careers, contacts, maps, landfill information, park listings and volunteers.
Click on “Landfill Information” and find fees schedules and landfill hours of operation for every landfill and transfer site in the regional district.
Click at one of the sites on a map at the bottom of the page and pop-up menus reveal pertinent information.
All of the services within the regional district, reports and bylaws are available and sorted to a specific area.
“We hope it’s a really easy way for people to find what they’re looking for,” says Payne. “We also have mosquito control, a page with information, policies and reports at the bottom – and a contact for each specific area – who they are and how to get in touch with them.”
Electoral areas are broken down specifically to each area, with mapping, statistics, local services and a link to other pages within the website.
Other online maps show all the zoning within the region and provide an option of searching for a specific property, its zoning and official community plan designation.
News, bylaws, directors (who, what and where), upcoming meetings, past meetings, bylaws, reports and parks and trails are also on the new website.
Payne says several forms are available on the site and payment options will be added in the future.
Among the kudos, was a criticism by alternate Salmon Arm director Chad Eliason, who noted there is no CSRD contact number on the home page.
“Angry people, that’s what they look for,” said Eliason, noting they don’t have time to go through a website looking for contact information.
Payne pointed out the there is very detailed contact information under the “Inside CSRD” tab, including photos and details about each director.
Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton asked if there would be links from the current trail and park information to boat launches.
“One of the things we’re looking at is expanding parks and trails to include boat launches, hiking trails, biking trails – all uses,” said Payne. “And we’re hoping it will be up within the year.”
Other directors asked about links to other websites, prompting Payne to point out the site is not static and features can be added.
Cost and design of the new website, which launched Nov. 14, was $35,800 plus taxes.
As part of 2013 budget deliberations, directors approved development of a new website that would provide a better tool for communication with the public.
“Objectives for the new website included a design that was esthetically pleasing, is easy to navigate, has high functionality and provides stable and secure access,” says Carolyn Black, deputy , manager corporate administration services.
A request for submissions went out early in the year with 15 responses coming from Canada and the U.S.
Five were shortlisted and given the opportunity to submit a proposal for the design and make a presentation to the regional district’s selection committee comprised of website contributors from each department.
UpandUp Studios in Victoria were given the contract.
“The new website is able to handle large quantities of complex information in a logical manner, is simple and easy to search and incorporates a consistent theme throughout,” said Black