Watchdog website launched in Hope

The goal of the site is to provide resources for people who are confronted by municipal government pressure or abuse

A new website has been launched to provide residents with an information database on municipal affairs.

HopeWatchDog.com will serve as a community-developed electronic town hall meeting place that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The goal is to provide resources for people who are confronted by municipal government pressure or abuse.

“We need public involvement in a way that will exercise more pressure on politicians so that we know a little more about what’s going on,” said website developer Richard Madison. “Transparency and accountability are byproducts of this sort of a process. The objective behind the website is to give residents a location where they can share information. When that information is shared, statistics can be drawn from that and inferences made. By doing that, it has an indirect impact on the transparency and accountability of governments because everybody knows what they’re up to.”

HopeWatchDog.com will inform residents of government processes and how to utilize or change them. It will also have an interactive bulletin board for residents to make comments and discuss local issues, and a database of problems and how they were solved by others. Madison said interaction on the website can be made anonymously.

Another objective of HopeWatchDog.com is to audit the district, which includes council and civil servants. Madison said up to $10,000 will be offered to whistleblowers and up to $4,000 for the best bylaw violations reported.

Madison is funding all the startup costs himself, but hopes the group will eventually be self-sufficient through community donations and fundraising initiatives. Once HopeWatchDog.com is fully established, local volunteers will take over running the group, garnering information and making phone calls.

The website is currently in the development phase and Madison is seeking input from volunteers and the public on what the site should provide and how it should look. HopeWatchDog.com is also seeking NGO (nongovernmental organization) status and charitable exemption.

For more information, visit the website or call 604-860-4672.