New tech helps Valemount residents keep up to date on local events
It was a unique day at the Valemount airport. In early June 2021, instead of planes heading down the runway, there were teens in ballgowns and dark suits walking across an outdoor stage. From parked cars, family and friends honked in approval as each graduate received a high school diploma. As far as South Africa, even more family and friends watched the ceremony streamed live online—a technological milestone for the community.
“That’s the kind of reach that we can now extend,” says Michael Peters, Coordinator of the Valemount Entertainment Society, which runs the community TV station that covers local happenings. When the pandemic hit, many events turned to online gatherings or greatly limited in-person attendance. How could the station step in to help fill this gap?
Support came through a Non-profit Tech Grant from the Trust. In 2021 alone, this program helped nearly 180 organizations in more than 40 Basin communities purchase technology to improve their operations and continue to deliver vital services. In Valemount, the station acquired an encoder/switcher so it could do livestreaming, plus equipment like a web camera and microphone so it could record high-quality interviews over Zoom. “It’s been a blessing for us,” Peters said.
To help community members create their own video content, the society also purchased camcorders and tripods that the public can sign out—plus it offers training and access to its studio. The station intends to continue its live coverage for the foreseeable future. Council chambers, for example, can only fit about 10 spectators—but now and onwards, all folks interested in council meetings will be able to watch them in real time.
Although the pandemic has been difficult in many ways, “it’s made us embrace technologies that we would not have used in the past,” Peters says. For this community, it’s been a rewarding shift.
AN ABUNDANCE OF NEW TECH
In addition to the Valemount Entertainment Society, several other Valemount organizations also recently received Non-profit Tech Grants including Robson Valley Community Services Society, Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association, Valemount Children’s Activity Society, Valemount Learning Society, Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society. Equipment purchased includes laptops for administrators and trail-use counters.