Three events in three nights, in the middle of the Lac La Biche County municipal election, during the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions, was a tricky feat for the Lac La Biche and District Chamber of Commerce officials who helped to organize them.
Initial reports show that the back-to-back ... to-back candidate forums sponsored by the Chamber and the Lac La Biche POST newsroom drew decent online reach along with the in-person attendance. It was a good response for the events — the first time the two sponsors had put together an online version of the municipal forums they have been organizing for decades.
"I think the forums went quite well despite some technical issues," said Lac La Biche and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Karen Collins, referring to some sound issues and initial delays in setting up the broadcasts.
As issues were corrected, the response from viewers and attendees was positive, she said.
"The feedback has been overall very positive and I have been told repeatedly that the forums helped with making a decision on where to place their vote," she said, going further to say the events event changed some decisions. "Some even advised that the forums actually changed their intended vote."
With days to go before the October 18 election, and as the three advance vote dates play out, the archive broadcasts of the debates are still available on the social media pages of the Lac La Biche POST and the Chamber of Commerce.
"The great thing with having the forums recorded is that people are going back to watch certain segments and candidate's answers," said Collins.
The Lac La BIche POST's facebook page has seen varied numbers of reach for each night's broadcast, with around 700 people reached for last Tuesday night's shared facebook live stream of the Mayor's debate, about the same for the Ward 1-4 forum the following night and just over 1,000 reached for the Ward 5-7 event on Thursday night. Images from Wednesday's event also reached a wide audience on the Lac La Biche POST facebook page and website at www.lakelandtodayca. with 3,000 people reached, and more than 260 active engagements of likes, shares, and comments.
The Chamber's social media page was busy during the debates, averaging between 80 to 120 comments from viewers, including questions for the candidates each night.