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Bow Island to move to new mass notification system for residents

Posted on December 7, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith

Looking to reach more of Bow Island, the Town will move to replace the current app with a new citizen engagement system.

At the November 27 Town Council meeting, council passed a motion that would have them adopt a mass notification system over the current system, which was noted by CAO Dave Matz was not sufficient during the 2023 Boil Water Order in notifying residents of the emergency.

The current system requires all residents to have a specific application on their smart devices, as well as having push notifications enabled. There are currently only 256 active users, notes the meeting agenda, and when an update in the spring of 2023 required all Android users to reinstall the app, fewer users reinstalled.

The new system will “be more active on the management side. But we’ll reach just about everybody,” said Matz. 

This system will send messages directly to cellphones, land lines and email, which Town administration hopes will be more effective in relaying information in the event of an emergency. The company contracted, Catalis, also offers website and meeting management, which Council has moved to include in their four-year contract.

This change will address issues such as access to meeting agendas, which has been a rare but noted issue, as well as facilitate the setup of a better community calendar.

Residents will be able to control what kinds of notifications they receive from the mass notification system, said Matz, with the default to be emergency information.

“For anything else, they can go onto the website through a portal and they can set up and pick what they want to receive,” said Matz, with suggestions including potential notifications for tourism and recreation information to keep residents better connected with their community.

Work on this change is expected to begin in late December.

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