Letter: APC should play key role in resident survey

Advisory Planning Commission logical choice for any planning recommendations

Re: Oak Bay survey gauges resident satisfaction, Oak Bay News, Aug. 3

A year ago in May you published my letter which recognized that four councillors had confirmed their previously stated belief in transparency and public engagement. They had voted for an Advisory Planning Commission under the rules of the Local Government Act rather than a committee.

The Act clearly intends to encourage resident participation and limit political influence. I remember how encouraged I was when Coun.  Ney cast the deciding vote.

Now we are told, the District is calling for proposals for a citizen survey to explore residents’ priorities and their satisfaction with the services they receive.

Curiously no mention is made of asking whether transparency and public engagement are being delivered, notwithstanding many statements emphasizing their importance.

Conceptually the planning process starts with “where are we?”, moves through “where do we want to be?” and suggests routes to get there. The survey seems intended to determine priorities, i.e where do we want to be?  If we are to launch this planning process, isn’t the Advisory Planning Commission the logical, indeed the only, politically independent  body with a mandate to make planning recommendations to council?

Thus I expect that the APC would review the proposals and recommend to council its choice of the organization to carry out the survey.

Further, once chosen, the successful proposer would work with the APC in the design of the survey.

Graham Ross

Oak Bay