Meaningful community engagement is the cornerstone of good governance. However, communities are complex and many local issues involve a wide range of stakeholders with distinct views and diverse areas of interest. This makes it both challenging and exciting to attempt new and creative ways to engage with as many people as possible. Recently, we have had a strong focus on community engagement through various forms.
Our Communications Intern, Faith has been a fantastic resource. As a result of her presence, we are able to pump out information regularly through press releases, surveys and face-to-face conversation. Please let me know if you have noticed a change in the level of communication and what this means to you. Does it make a difference? Once Faith is gone, the likelihood of this continuing at the same level is low due to our limited capacity.
Within these past few months, we have also been having conversations with the younger demographic and this has been very rewarding so far. The 18-35 year olds are an intelligent, passionate and opinionated group of engaged citizens. They love Golden and care deeply about the future of this community. At our meetings, we have been asking how they want to be informed and involved with the Town. In addition, we’ve challenged them to consider how they want to be represented in the next election and the importance of voting. These meetings have been a great opportunity for me to learn more about the younger demographic.
Our engagement hasn’t only been limited to the 18-35 year olds though, we have also been continuing with the Community Conversations events. These conversations are open to anyone and are an opportunity to have respectful dialogue and share diverse opinions. It gives people the chance to learn about what issues are important to their neighbors and fellow community members. Our last discussions focused on value for money and resulted in some great discussions on how to measure value as well as what is good public debt versus bad public debt. Our next meeting is on April 2 at 12:15 pm. It will be even more multi-generational, as it will be at the high school and include the grade 11 and 12 students. It will be interesting to listen to the different generations talk about Golden’s future opportunities. This lunch hour conversation will also include a free pizza lunch for everyone, compliments of Columbia Basin Trust.
The Town has begun to have a very strong focus on engaging and communicating with the public in various ways. It is important for us to have meaningful discussions so that we can represent the citizens and create informed decisions together. As well, we like to clear up misinformation. If you hear or read a political story and you are curious, I am happy to clarify some things or provide another perspective. My door is always open. My office # is 250 344 2271 ext 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>. Please share your thoughts with me on our communications strategies. Does it make a difference to you? I hope so!