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article imageTaxpayers outraged over $3 million makeover of Vancouver website

By Andrew Moran     Aug 10, 2012 in Politics
Vancouver - The City of Vancouver's website, Vancouver.ca, received a makeover to the tune of $3 million (and it isn't even mobile friendly). Taxpayers are outraged after it was revealed the website cost seven figures to redesign.
Why would a website that is essentially a directory for the entire city’s civic needs cost $3 million? With many content management systems (CMS) on the market in this day and age, Vancouver residents are asking the exact same question.
Laurie Best, the city spokesperson, stated that $2 million went to a new CMS, such as the software, hardware and customizations, and the remaining $1 million was spent on the front end, including 20 staff members, research studies, focus groups, training and public consultations, according to The Province.
It was noted that Yellow Pencil and Open Text were given a $674,649 contract for a new CMS.
“My biggest challenge with spending $3-million on a website is the fact they've made Gregor Robertson the front and centre of the website,” said NPA councillor George Affleck in an interview with NEWS1130. “That concerns me because we're really supposed to be a website for all of Vancouver and all of the council.”
Meanwhile, J.P. Holecka, owner of the digital marketing agency Powershifter, defended the cost. He told the Vancouver news agency that the city could have saved money, but a project on that kind of scale would still be in the seven figures.
“Could they have saved money? Absolutely, but I think, on average, a site of that size would cost at least $1 million to $2 million,” stated Holecka. “This isn't a website so much as a large system of software, often many systems, working together to pull in diverse sets of information from many places. There's a machine behind there that must be built.”
OpenFile as well as some visitors noted that the website is not mobile friendly.
Vancouver.ca is now asking residents for feedback on the website.
The reactions on Twitter have mostly been individuals complaining about the price tag, while some have complained about the accessibility of Vancouver.ca
“Apparently Vancouver City are comfy $3 million is what their new website should cost…. http://vancouver.ca/ I have no words. None,” wrote @LouLouK.
“I hate to join the vancouver.ca hate-fest, but from a dev perspective, it's brutal. Inefficient code and an accessibility nightmare,” said @cmall.
More about Vancouver, city website, Taxpayers, $3 million, Makeover
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