County council chambers getting sound system to allow people to attend meetings remotely

·2 min read

COUNTY OF WELLINGTON – The County of Wellington’s council chambers are set to get a sound system for accessibility purposes so the public can tune in virtually to committee and council meetings.

Right now, there are no provisions for hybrid meetings of committees and council.

County staff is recommending the county’s administration, finance and human resources committee purchase a Televic G4 Wireless Audio Conference sound system through Soundbox Productions at a cost of $73,000.

According to a staff report, staff were requested to report on the feasibility of making council and committee meetings accessible to the public remotely. In order to do this, the installation of a sound system is required.

Staff was also requested to ensure the sound system would be capable of allowing staff and council members to participate in meetings remotely when necessary.

As such, staff approached four vendors who had experience with providing systems for other municipalities and upper levels of government about their sound systems.

One of the four vendors contacted declined to bid and three brought their systems to the council chambers and provided a demo for staff. The bids ranged from $56,000 to $80,200, including labour and taxes.

Based on the sound quality and the product support team, staff is recommending the purchase of a Televic G4 Wireless Audio Conference sound system through Soundbox Productions at a cost of $73,000, including labour and taxes.

The sound system includes three charging stations, 29 goose-neck microphone units and one central unit and wireless access point. This system is compatible with Zoom out of the box.

However, the sound system does not include camera installations in the chambers as council is yet to have further discussions on the matter at a later date.

The cost of the sound system and the potential for cameras in the chambers was included in the 2022 Budget at $100,000. Depending on the sophistication of the system, the range in cost for the cameras would be from $10,000 to $40,000.

Once the sound system is in place and staff and council is familiar with using it, a report will be brought forward regarding the potential for remote public access to meetings, remote councillor participation and the logistics involved. Any other equipment required will be considered at that time.

Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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