A month after it was established, White Rock’s rumours and misperceptions webpage – part of the city’s larger website – is serving its purpose, according to chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill.
“It’s gained some attention – and positive attention,” the city manager told Peace Arch News this week.
Introduced on the website on June 20, the webpage, Rumours and Misperceptions – Eliminating Misinformation, invites members of the public to email rumours to email@example.com
According to the webpage, the city sees it as a way to counter “inaccurate information circulating in the community and the media” by providing city-vetted info.
While it has promised “new facts and topics” on a regular basis, so far the webpage has addressed three water-related issues raised repeatedly by critics of the White Rock administration; namely, according to the site, that the city is “hiding how much it paid for the water utility,” that it “is not doing anything to address the water discolouration and quality,” and that “the city is not communicating or engaging with the public about water in White Rock.”
“At this point it’s only been a soft launch,” Bottrill noted of the webpage. “We didn’t really make any fanfare about it. There was no media release, although we did advise council that it was going up on the website.”
He added that some of the response has clearly come from critics reporting spurious rumours or posing facetious questions.
“Those in the business of misinformation have been playing with it a little bit,” he said with a laugh.
But Bottrill insisted the webpage has helped in stopping “rumours in front of people, (those) that have some legs to them,” while noting it was not intended to deal with every single instance of inaccurate information pertaining to the city – “we wouldn’t have the time for that.”
The webpage has been largely well-received, he said.
“We’ve been getting some positive comments. We’ve had some other municipalities taking a look at it. It’s not just a City of White Rock issue – it happens everywhere. We’ve tried different things and we’re trying this.
“In terms of the website, it’s been one of the top 10 pages visited, ahead of recycling and garbage pickup – even with a soft launch.”