In doing my research, I learned our municipal website has soaked up a fortune, but I had a hard time seeing much change. In particular, our Economic Development site is a mess. Tools don’t work properly, and the coding is sloppy. The user interface is lame. Nothing about that site screams out “come and invest in Chatham-Kent.”
Our main site, and the cost, does not impress me. It is bloated with invisible scripts, and slow to load. The municipality could reduce web bandwidth by up to 89% by activating compression, which also speeds the site up – especially important for dial-up and wireless.
- How much have we paid Concept Interactive Inc. in each of the last 4 years?
Response: From 2006 to 2008, no monies were paid to Concept Interactive Inc. As a result of a Request for Proposal response in May of 2009, Concept was awarded the Request for Proposal work. From July 2009 to date, a total sum of $521,666, has been expensed to Concept Interactive Inc. Of this amount, a total of $177,500 was provincially grant-funded monies for the Newcomer, Economic Development and Tourism web sites.
- Of this amount, what portion is allocated to the Economic Development Services web portal?
Response: The following monies were allocated to the Tourism Site, Economic Development Site, Small Business Centre Site: Total of $117,500 ($60,000 was for the Newcomer site) of which 100% was funded by the provincial government through the Communities in Transition funding.
- Do any municipal staff have an interest, shares, patents, or development role with Concept Interactive Inc.?
Response: Not to our knowledge.
- What are the contract terms?
Response: The contract terms are based upon the development and delivery of the approved Request for Proposal requirements for a total project sum of $ 641,555.33.
- Do you happen to have a link to the RFP and Concept Interactive Inc. contract? It looks like the contract is about 81% complete. What remains to be done?
No response to date. Why?
On October 5th during the CFCO radio debates, mayor Hope said our tourism website is an embarrassment. Actually, the Chatham-Kent tourism site is much improved. It contains many of the components that I said we should add, as first outlined in my 2003 mayoral platform and reiterated in 2006.
What’s missing is more community involvement and the lower cost that would incur. We could have used free Open Source software to save money and gain control, instead of making it dependent on proprietary software with annual licence fees.
I don’t like the blue banner the site uses. Our new $28,350 (plus thousands in implementation costs) logo designed by Nova Scotia consultants is not working. The British Columbia jingle is a PR disaster. There is room for improvement in the way Chatham-Kent is marketed.
Missing from the site is multimedia promotions. We should have video all over YouTube depicting local history and recreational activities. There should be information for producers who want to film movie and television productions here. Our Google placement rates poorly. All these free tools aren’t being used.
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form for which the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software… Open source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner… A report by Standish Group states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year to consumers. – Wikipedia Think what this could save government!
As a web designer and multimedia artist, I’ll make sure our websites are economical, impressive, and complete. My technical and programming understanding will help drive IT efficiencies. We can do better in our web presence for much less money. I’m always looking for ways to achieve big results with limited resources.