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CAO-20-21 - video conferencing for council chambers Report to Council REPORT NO.: CAO-20-21 DATE: December 9, 2020 ATTACHMENT: Summary of Quotations SUBJECT: VIDEO CONFERENCING SOLUTIONS FOR COUNCIL MEETINGS Recommendation: THAT Report No. CAO-20-21 entitled “Video Conferencing Solutions for Council Meetings” be received; AND THAT the quotation received from PA Shop, of London, Ontario, in the amount of 22,362.00 (plus applicable taxes), to provide and install a video conferencing system for Council meetings at Malahide Community Place; AND THAT the Municipal Staff be authorized and directed to take the necessary actions to facilitate the installation of a video conferencing solution in Malahide Community Place to better enable electronic participation and the livestreaming of Council meetings; it being noted that such system can be redeployed to the former Council Chambers in the future. Background: On March 17, 2020, the Province of Ontario declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 19, 2020, the Province enacted Bill 187, the Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 to amend the Municipal Act, 2001 to provide that, during emergencies, members of councils, local boards and committees who participate electronically in open and closed meetings may be counted for purposes of quorum. On April 2, 2020, the Council passed By-law No. 20-23 in order to its Council Procedural By-law to allow for electronic participation when a state of emergency is declared. It also allowed members participating electronically to be counted towards quorum and members participating electronically to participate in closed session meetings. On December 3, 2020, the Council passed By-law No. 20-81 to further amend its Procedural By-law to allow for electronic participation without there being a declared state of emergency. Comments/Analysis: The Government of Ontario’s response to COVID-19 through Bill 187 has helped communities across the province respond to this crisis by allowing Councils to conduct meetings remotely. These changes empowered municipalities to respond quickly and continue to function when in-person meetings cannot be held and council decisions need to be made for the purposes of business continuity. However, as those revisions to the Municipal Act, 2001 did not alter the requirement for meetings to be open to the public, the Council agreed that such meetings would be recorded and then streamed to the Township’s Youtube page. In order to adhere to gathering limits and physical distancing, the Council, when it decided to return to in-person meeting in late September, 2020, changed the location of its meetings to Malahide Community Place (MCP). Further, having experienced the benefits of electronic participation, the Council agreed that when it returned to in-person meetings, all members would have the option to participate either electronically or in- person. Over the past couple of months, it has become apparent that the existing sound system at MCP is not satisfactory in delivering quality sound for electronic participation or for recording and streaming Council meetings on YouTube. The Municipal Staff were asked to investigate permanent technology solutions to replace the ad hoc arrangements that had been made to date to support electronic participation. The Manager of Information Technology consulted with four potential service providers in an effort to develop a permanent video conferencing solution. Quotations have been received from three of those service providers. See summary attached. Each of the quotes includes options for a ‘wired’ and ‘wireless’ solution as well as an option for a web camera that would automatically pan to the person speaking. This additional camera option would result in less staff being required to attend future council meetings in order to manually adjust the web camera to accommodate each speaker. Having reviewed all of the quotations received, the Municipal Staff are recommending that PA Shop, of London, Ontario, be awarded the project at a cost of $22,362.00 (plus applicable taxes). The recommended solution is for a ‘wired’ Shure system that has the highest audio quality, is expandable, can be installed in late December, and includes a camera that will automatically track to the person speaking. It is important to note that the above-noted video conferencing solution is able to be redeployed to the former Council Chambers once the Council determines that it is appropriate to re-commence holding its meetings at that location. Financial Implications to Budget: There is currently no provision in the 2020 or 2021 Budget for this project. However, in the event that the Council were to approve the proposed project, an amendment would be required to be made to the Draft 2021 Budget in the amount of $22,362.00 (plus applicable taxes). It is proposed that this project be funded entirely from the one-time COVID grant funding that was received from the Province earlier this year. As a result, approval of such project will have no effect on the proposed 2021 tax levy. Relationship to Cultivating Malahide: The Cultivating Malahide Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) is based upon four pillars of sustainability: Our Land, Our Economy, Our Community, and Our Government. One of the goals that support the “Our Local Government” Strategic Pillar relates to “Improve Communication within Our Community”. Adapting the Council meeting processes to enable the Council to meet and make decisions electronically while streaming meetings via YouTube works to achieve this goal. Submitted by: Approved By: Cecil Coxen, IT Manager SUMMARY OF QUOTATIONS The following 4 companies were contacted: 1. Dynamix – provided 3 quotes (wired and wireless) and a range of options 2. Media Multicom – provided 3 quotes (wired and wireless) 3. PA Shop – 3 quotes (wired and wireless) 4. Genesis Integration – did not provide quotes given their current schedule and travel Quote Specifications:  All quotes are items that have proprietary components but do use ‘off the shelf’ connection options and these are the ones presented below.  All of these choices, based on input from vendors, will provide the tracking or following delegate camera.  All use ethernet cables between microphone bases, no wireless.  All should result in easy setup, minimizing need for IT staff at meetings.  All provide a kill switch for chairperson. Media PA Shop Dynamix Multicom Wired X X X Ethernet X X X Expandable X X X Camera (follow) X X Audio quality Highest High High Timeline for install Audio end of Dec End of Jan End of Jan Video in Feb Camera alteration Done by vendor IT can update IT can update $22,362.00 $28,472.00 $21,347.00 Conclusion: Based on staff analysis, the PA Shop ‘Shure’ solution is the preferred option as it has the highest audio quality, is expandable, can be installed in late December, and is only marginally more costly than the next option.