The Council should strengthen and coordinate its approach to community engagement, following the approval of the community engagement policy.
The policy will coordinate the Board’s approach to all community engagement activities.
It describes who the Board will engage with – including why, how and when we will engage – to ensure that a coordinated and cohesive approach is taken across all areas of the Board and that community is at the heart of all matters. decision making.
Chandler Ward Councilor David Eastham said council and the community recognize the importance of good engagement in projects.
“Speaking with the community, I think community engagement and how the Council engages with the community on a variety of projects has been a hot topic,” he said.
“I think the policy is well drafted and it is important to note that it will help bring to life what is required under the new law on local government, including deliberative engagement.
“If we can stick to the content of this policy, I believe we will surpass and truly excel in community engagement as a local government.”
To create the policy, we used community feedback from our review of community engagement services in 2018, drop-in sessions in February and March 2021, print and online surveys, and presentations to our committee. Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities, the Indigenous Advisory Committee and the Township of Upwey Group.
We heard from the community this:
- Engagement opportunities, such as polls and design feedback, need to be better promoted so that more people in the community can participate, especially those with limited access to digital channels.
- Projects should take into account people who travel from other locations to use a space, park or facility. On the other hand, some participants said that the Council needed to listen more to the comments of local people, who would be directly affected by a decision or a project.
- Recognize the importance of feedback from community stakeholders in determining Council projects and programs.
- The Board needs to improve its ability to come full circle – by explaining how feedback has influenced or informed decisions or projects.
Council staff and advisors also provided feedback on the draft Community Engagement Policy. All of this feedback helped shape the final version approved on April 27.
The Community Engagement Policy will now be launched and implemented across Council and tested in a range of projects over the next 12-18 months.