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Budget approved for Whistler.ca overhaul

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Council approved $85,000 to overhaul the municipal website on Tuesday.

According to the staff report, the new Whister.ca website will be launched in November 2011.

Michele Comeau, the RMOW's manager of communications, told council that the website is primary communications tool as well as a service provider for people in the community, and that an upgrade is absolutely necessary.

She said that the Internet is the preferred channel of communication for permanent residents in Whistler, for 44 per cent of seasonal residents and 27 per cent of second homeowners. She said the current website is not maximizing the potential for an online audience.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler agreed that the website upgrade is essential.

"Our current website sucks. Absolutely sucks," he said. "This website is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving democracy in our community."

Whistler.ca currently receives 18,000 visits per month, which isn't many but Comeau said that a new website would create more potential for a greater online presence for the RMOW.

Comeau said there is a rising trend, and an expectation from the public, for government bodies to have adequate, easy-to-navigate websites.

The website's current content management system has been problematic ever since the site was launched in 2005 at a cost of $1 million. Comeau said that the IT department has not been able to maintain the security of the site and that the upgrades will ensure a safe, secure site.

She noted that Whistler2010.com, launched prior to the Olympics, attracted 250,000 visits in five months.

"It demonstrated our website potential during the Games," she said, adding that it brought "unprecedented exposure" to Whistler during and after the Games.

What RMOW staff learned through that process will be used as the foundation for the Whistler.ca redesign.

 

 

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