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Digital strategy won’t leave seniors behind

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver



Vancouver’s $30-million digital strategy aimed at expanding residents’ online access and boosting business development won’t leave seniors scratching their heads, according to city staff.

Even as Vancouver moves towards offering more services online and reducing red tape to make it easier for businesses to compete in the digital age, chief librarian Sandra Singh told city council Tuesday the new plan will ensure everything remains easily accessible.

“We don’t envision a future that is digital-only,” she said, adding the digital strategy doesn’t mean the elimination of face-to-face city services.

Coun. Tim Stevenson hoped the new strategy wouldn’t make city services less accessible to those who aren’t tech savvy.

“This is moving so rapidly for so many people, it feels like it’s a younger person’s game,” he said.

Singh noted the digital plan would not include citywide access to free wireless Internet.

“The demand for WiFi is insatiable — and it’s not free,” she said, adding the strategy includes an incremental rollout of WiFi at targeted spots.

Vancouver already offers free wireless Internet access at community centres and public libraries, where 90,000 visitors accessed its computers in 2012.

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