Calgary Holds Y2K Focus Groups

The Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, recently found that residents are fairly knowledgeable about the Year 2000 problem and are not overly alarmed about potential problems the bug may bring.

The city recently wrapped up a series of focus groups designed to find out what the city's residents anticipate about the Year 2000 date change and its impact on city services.

"They wanted more communication, which fit into our plans because we were going to step up communication in the fall anyway," said Judith Umbach, Calgary's executive director for the Year 2000. "The groups did provide more details and ideas as to how we will implement that plan."

The focus groups provided city officials with some pointers on the best way to reach people, specifically indicating that community newsletters might be effective. Umbach said the city's upcoming communications plans would put the residents' feedback into action by putting Year 2000 information in various community and senior citizen newsletters.

Participants also mentioned putting information on the city's World Wide Web site. Ironically, those same participants answered "no" when asked if they had recently visited the site for Year 2000 information, Umbach said.

The four focus groups were made up of eight people each, representing different cross-sections of Calgary's citizens. A facilitator led each group with specific questions about the Year 2000 problem.

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