Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell is more than happy with her iPad.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell is more than happy with her iPad. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Councillors take to tablets

LISMORE City Councillors look set to go digital following a Tuesday night briefing by staff on a four-month trial of the tablet computer, the iPad.

With printing costs for councillors' business papers approaching $10,000 each year, the $8000 required to outfit the remaining seven councillors seemed prudent to most councillors, who will vote on it at the next council meeting.

Mayor Jenny Dowell and councillors Vanessa Ekins, Peter Graham and David Yarnall participated in the trial.

While feedback included a few negatives, all four believed the benefits far outweighed the shortcomings.

While generally happy with her device, Cr Dowell expressed some frustration trying to take notes electronically at meetings and said she would now revert to pen and paper.

Staff assured councillors the iPads were never about eliminating writing paper as the lion's share of the paper savings were in the reduced printing.

Cr Graham Meineke was happy to see the roll-out to avoid becoming a "lame-duck council" but said he did find them distracting at meetings.

Cr Yarnall said his was excellent for emails and reading business papers.

"We've had them for four months now and they've been a great addition because living in a rural area and working full time I'm often unable to get to my computer prior to meetings so this means I'm far more contactable for staff and residents," he said.

"That accessibility is certainly very important plus the added bonus is we're saving reams and reams of paper and rooms full of filing cabinets.

"We're looking at removing faxes and the iPad will probably replace that."



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