Imagine living in a community where:
• Civic engagement is expected
• High voter turnout is normal
• Dialogue is chosen over diatribe
• Disagreements don’t get disagreeable
• People talk to each other instead of about each other
Municipal government is the most accessible level of government. Elected officials live, work and play in the communities they serve. Community Conversations was created to be a low-cost, low-tech, high-contact way for a community to engage in healthy dialogue about local issues. I started the Community Conversations events to combat some of the negative energy that surrounded the last by-election.
I did not want some of the sentiments expressed against the staff and council to impact the passion and enthusiasm of the governing body. If people chose not to run because they feel that being vilified is not worth it, then our community may risk losing quality and dedicated leaders in the next election.
Citizens of Golden may differ on their definitions of quality of life and value for money, but under the surface, they care deeply about the health and wellbeing of their community. Community Conversations created a venue to look at each other and recognize the common goal we all share: building a healthy, vibrant, prosperous community.
Successful community engagement has a number of tangible and intangible benefits for the community. Many conversations served to raise awareness, others generated ideas that were put into action immediately, while others depend on resources and politic will.
These were the topics covered over the seven events:
How do you want to be engaged in civic affairs?
What does quality of life mean to you? Who contributes to making that happen?
What makes a good citizen? How can i be a good citizen in 2014?
What factors do you look at to see if you’re getting value for your money from municipal government?
What are our key opportunities for the future, and how can we capture/achieve them?
Economic development in golden and CSRD Area A ‐who should be responsible for all aspects?
How can we make this next election the best election ever?
Community Conversations has served as a model for other communities around the basin and Golden should feel proud that they were part of the upsurge!
Thanks to each and every one of you for your participation and contributions to this series of discussions. THANK YOU to CBT for their financial support by providing facilitators Leslie Taylor and Katherine Hamilton, and meeting recorder, Andrea Sherriff. I could not have done this without them.