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Blogger wants city eye on Yk
Webcam would show tourists and potential residents what Yellowknife looks like, says online enthusiast

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 15, 2013

A Yellowknife blogging enthusiast is asking city hall to invest in a webcam to promote the city.

NNSL photo/graphic

Heather Rosvold, who had previously linked on her blog to a live webcam that looked toward downtown from an area near Pilot's Monument, is asking the City of Yellowknife to install its own webcam so people outside the city can see what Yellowknife is all about in real time. - Katherine Hudson/NNSL photo

Heather Rosvold started a blog before she moved to Yellowknife two years ago this month and it has gotten some attention. One post linked to a webcam that was situated near Pilot's Monument in Old Town, looking out to Yellowknife Bay and the city.

"You could see the ice road in the winter and the houseboats in the summer. It was perfect," said the 26-year-old.

The link recently stopped working, however, and a commentator on her blog this past week stated that, "Yellowknife seems like the only community in Canada without a working webcam, so I guess I have to ask what kind of a backwater place is it?"

"It made me mad," Rosvold said. "Then I thought, wait a minute, he's right."

Web browsers can peer into cities all over the world. On the website EarthCam, people can watch what's happening on the streets of New Orleans, Times Square in New York City, Dublin and many more. For a time, people were watching Yellowknife as well from Rosvold's blog.

The blog was first made for family and friends to see what her new home was like. But other people started viewing it. There have been 30,000 views over two years by people from all over the world who are interested in Canada's North.

"I don't know how they found it. There's obviously interest in the North and in Yellowknife," she said.

Rosvold said a city-owned webcam would help promote the region.

There is one webcam situated on a residence near Pilot's Monument owned by CasCom. Aaron Jaque, the company's president, said Rosvold could have linked to CasCom's live webcam, but he's not sure. He said there have been modifications and upgrades on the company's system and this could have caused an issue with the feed the blog was getting. It was up and running Monday although it doesn't run continuously.

CasCom has two webcams in the city, one in Old Town on top of a residence and the other in Kam Lake at the company's office. There are six other webcams operated by CasCom - three at sites in the NWT and three in Nunavut.

"The webcams are used to identify the weather. What we've tried to do is to create a service for mining and exploration and the charter companies that fly out to these sites to give them the ability to see what the weather looks like before they leave on the flight because, often, there are safety concerns with the weather in these remote sites and there's not any infrastructure in place to have a good reference of what the actual weather is," said Jaque.

Along with the webcam at the sites, there is a weather station that will display the current weather at the site. Some of the sites outside of Yellowknife are only active when the sites are in use. Through the winter, the sites are closed and there is no power or data coming out of them.

"We'll see a few of them come online this month as some of the exploration mining sites start to open up," said Jaque.

According to Mayor Mark Heyck, AuroraMAX has a webcam that comes on at night so people can view the aurora borealis from the comfort of home and to ensure it's worth bundling up to check them out in person. There are no city-owned webcams, he said, although in the past, private businesses have put them at the top of buildings.

He said the webcam idea is something the city could look into but there is no definite plan in the works.

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