311 is now fully at Windsor residents’ fingertips

311 call centre manager Alena Sleziak demonstrates Windsor's new 311 app at City Hall, March 1, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

It is now easier for Windsor residents to get in touch with its 311 services.

The city unveiled a new smartphone app for its 311 reporting system this week, with reporters being given a demonstration at City Hall on Friday. The app complements the traditional call centre that has been around for about a decade, as well as its online reporting system for personal computers.

Alena Sleziak, the city’s 311 call centre manager, said the system has been in development for about a year, and for starters, residents can submit a report or a concern in a handful of categories, with more to be added within a few months.

“Initially here we have 19 request types that we’re launching, and they’re grouped under category headings, so it’s easy and simple for the user to find the information they want or the proper request for service,” said Sleziak.

Those 19 request types fall under seven umbrella categories, which are animals, city-owned properties, graffiti, property maintenance, snow and ice, streets and sidewalks, and other issues. Users will now have the ability to attach a photo directly from the scene of an issue such as a pothole. Sleziak said this will allow city crews to prioritize problems needing attention.

The app will allow people to report their issues 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and they can now report issues anonymously. However, the city says providing a contact name, phone number or email address will speed up any follow-up required by the 311 call centre staff.

The new 311 app allows for instant reporting of potholes and other issues. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Sleziak said for those who aren’t computer-savvy or don’t use smartphones, there is always the 311 call centre, which is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays excluding statutory holidays. She said she does not expect any staffing changes at the call centre now that the app is ready.

“There’s still going to be the need for the live answer,” said Sleziak. “There is only a limited amount on this app and some of the requests for service that we get are quite complicated, so it requires more questions from a live person to really drill down the details, so I don’t think that’ll ever change.”

Jason Moore, the city’s senior manager of communications and customer service, tells BlackburnNewsWindsor.com that the app is powered via Motorola in a five-year, $300,000 a year agreement.

The app is now live and can be downloaded for free from Apple or Google Play. For more information on the app, visit the city’s official website.