NEWS

West Island municipalities could pay for not having open data plan

03/10/2015 05:31 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
None of Montreal’s West Island municipalities have released their city’s data online, which could end up costing the municipalities in the long run, according to an advocate for open data.

Sébastien Gauthier, spokesman for the City of Dorval says the city is not opposed to open data, but says releasing data to the public is not on its agenda.

"We’ve been monitoring the situation and maybe it’s something we’ll be looking at for the future, but right now, we’re not quite there here in Dorval."

In fact, he says the city’s number one digital priority is creating a Facebook page for the city.

"First steps first — we don’t even have social media here yet and that for us is a priority."

Dorval isn’t alone. None of the municipalities on the West Island have released their data publicly.

Gauthier says for them, it’s just not a priority. He said no residents have asked for it — nor has it been discussed at council.

He says other things, like infrastructure, are on the minds of people in Dorval, and that the city hasn’t budgeted for costs related to crunching that data and releasing it online.

Advocate suggests teamwork

However, Jean-Noé Landry, an advocate for open data who founded Montréal Ouvert, said that could cost the municipality in the long-term.

He said more cities are opting to post their data online, in the name of transparency and accountability.

"On the one hand they’re able to benefit on the experience of others that are moving ahead, but the catch up curve is going to be steeper."

Landry suggests the West Island municipalities band together to create a unified front on releasing their data, which could save money, and get the job done faster.

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