Reporting Municipal Issues Goes Mobile

See Click Fix | BCBusiness
The app launched last week but New Westminster residents have only slowly started using it since.

New Westminster becomes the latest Metro Vancouver municipality to offer smartphone-friendly city services

New Westminster residents can now use their smartphones to report non-emergency issues like potholes or graffiti instead of having to call city hall.

“We have a very active and involved community,” says Blair Fryer, communications and economic development manager at the City of New Westminster. “See Click Fix is all a part of the city really looking to respond to citizens and allow them vehicles and platforms to engage with the city in a way that they prefer. “
After downloading See Click Fix for free, residents choose an issue category, snap a photo of it and add any other relevant details in the report. The mobile app geo-tags the location of the issue, making it easy for city staff to respond. Once submitted, the report is forwarded to the appropriate city department for action and staff can provide updates on the status of the issue until it’s fixed. Users can also see all other reports and can add a “vote” to fix an issue that also affects them.
A week after its launch, just over two dozen items ranging from an abandoned mattress to a faulty street light had been reported via the app. The city anticipates an uptick in certain issues being reported but doesn’t anticipate additional work for staff, says Fryer. In addition to calling or sending an email to city hall, residents have been able to report issues through Twitter or Facebook since 2009.
New Haven, Connect.-based See Click Fix has built apps for 165 municipalities across North America, including Surrey. One other municipality in Metro Vancouver is also on the verge of launching the app.  
See Click Fix was launched as a part of the city’s strategy to engage with residents via social media. New Westminster introduced another app called “My-Waste” last fall, which reminds residents of their garbage and recycling pick up times and allows them to report any issues.
“With the growth of social media and certainly the increase and the number of people who have access to smart phones, for a new generation of citizens in New Westminster this really is the preferred method for receiving and reporting information,” says Fryer.  

This article has been updated from a previous version.