Letter to the Editor: Improving Council's Communications With Residents
During the all candidates forum, most folks at the front had something to say about improving council’s communications with residents. I would like to suggest the debate surrounding the future development in Pinewood would be a good example of where council could start being proactive in their outreach. While information on where development can and cannot take place may exist somewhere in City Hall, the following suggestions could help the average person understand the issues better:
1) Display maps in high traffic localities that indicate zoning and future development areas. This could include Rossland’s development boundaries (if we have them).
2) Host a forum on development in Rossland to understand the level of knowledge that exists within the community. This would help you direct your communication efforts.
3) Work with developers to ensure the level of communication / outreach they undertake matches the needs of local residents.
4) Commit to writing a weekly column in local newspapers that keeps people informed and engaged on council’s perspectives on issues in town. This would include development as well as local economy, plastic bags, events, etc. You may also consider having a blog on this e-paper or a joint blog to save time and distribute the work amongst the council.
5) Put something in the Official Community Plan (OCP) that encourages the city to work with residents and developers to keep people up to speed on what is being planned/changed/developed, etc.
6) Advertise your website as a place to get informed. Many folks don’t realize the city website exists.
Meaningful communications requires time, thought and money. Given our experiences this past year with serious debate surrounding both the boundary expansion and development in the watershed, I would argue a new approach to communications would be worth council’s effort if they want to gain residents’ support on key issues.