Making social media notices mandatory

Big Valley Village Office and Library
Written by Stu Salkeld

Big Valley village council discussed making social media notices of their council meetings mandatory. 

The discussion was held at their Nov. 26 regular meeting which was held in the community hall to meet pandemic guidelines.

The topic came up as part of a discussion about agenda item Bylaw 852 – Procedural Bylaw, which Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sandra Schell noted required some changes. 

She reminded councillors the procedural bylaw lays out how council will conduct its business.

Schell stated the procedural bylaw was examined during a recent, standard review of the village by the provincial government’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs. 

One item was picked out during the review, a part of the procedural bylaw that gave the chair the authority to excuse someone from a council meeting, which isn’t an authority that a chair can legally use.

Mayor Clark German stated he had an idea for the section of the procedural bylaw which governs notification of the public of upcoming council meetings. 

German suggested the village also consider adding social media council meetings notices to the bylaw, specifically naming the village’s Facebook page.

Schell noted that the village uses posters and its website to notify the public of council meetings, which are relatively easy for staff to do, but adding Facebook to the bylaw means it must be done every time.

“If we put (Facebook) in here, that means we have to do it every time,” said Schell, and she stated staff may not be able to do that.

German responded it may not be necessary to have social media in the bylaw, but noted many people use social media and it may be an effective way of letting people know what’s going on at the village office. 

The mayor stated he would just like to see as much communication with the public as possible.

It was decided to offer social media notices informally as staff time allows, but not include them in the bylaw.

German also suggested a provision in the bylaw for offering the public virtual access to meetings such as online videos and also for recording of council meetings.

Schell stated council already has those options as the Municipal Government Act provides the village with authority to offer virtual meetings and to record meetings.

Councillors unanimously approved the updated procedural bylaw.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.