Public engagement targets achieved

Task force sent back to boil down recommendations

The mayor’s task force on community engagement will run a little longer than it thought after the trio presented its findings for council, sitting as committee.

The task force of community member Jan Mears, Coun. Eric Zhelka, and Coun. Tom Croft submitted its Community Engagement Report sub-titled Coffee with Councillors April 18. They reviewed the 2012 Community Engagement report, offering updates and suggestions to further accountability and transparency of council.

“So much of what was recommended in 2012 has already been implemented,” Mears said.

For example, council introduced a public input session during council meetings, official Oak Bay emails for elected officials and even free wi-fi. As well, web casting of meetings is close to implementation.

“Now in 2016 it’s really about how you do your work, how you engage with community on some fairly big issues,” said Mearns.

As part of the group that put together the 2012 report, Coun. Kevin Murdoch was also pleased with the progress on the recommendations from that report.

“I don’t think things are entirely broken,” he said.

The task force presented, alongside the report attached to that meeting’s agenda, a three-part initiative – confirm the right approach, determine the specific activities, and develop the plan – alongside an engagement framework. The framework included levels of public involvement to the point of voting in extreme cases which prompted discussion around the table.

Public input is “to provide us with the broadest amount of opinions and information available to use so we can make the best decision,” Murdoch said. “That’s sort of our job at the end of the day.”

He noted there is always a core of active residents appearing in correspondence and voicing opinions on many issues or projects. There is a vast portion who aren’t active,

“They expect us to do the work and make the decision,” he said. “I would love to see ideas how we can expand that (information base).”

Suggesting there are generally 10 per cent fans and 10 per cent naysayers in any group, Mears said, the idea is to target the 80 per cent in the middle.

The task force also suggested council outreach sessions on key topics in the community featuring ‘experts’ in the field, or simply coffee with councillors or community conversations.

Coun. Tara Ney voiced support for the suggestion of three-hour working sessions for senior staff and council using a facilitator and case study method.

“There would be some value in that,” Ney said, noting the differing ideas around the table on if, when and how to move forward on the information. “While we’ve accomplished a great deal here, there’s room for improvement.”

The committee considered a motion to draft a report in line with legislated requirements and a legal framework. That however would require staff time, which would bump another priority project. They opted to refer back to the task force for clarification of specific recommendations incorporating committee’s input.

“I’d like us to come to a place where it’s a report you can do something with,” Mears said.


Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure closes Oak Bay pub, restaurant

Penny Farthing, Vis-a-Vis expected to reopen Wednesday after deep clean

Victoria police officers used less-lethal weapons to arrest a woman Sunday night after she allegedly attacked a man with a hammer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use less-lethal weapons on woman following hammer attack

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team called to barricade situation

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

Victoria police are looking for Delmer Esau who was last seen in Esquimalt June 1. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Search continues for man last seen in Esquimalt

Delmer Esau, 35, hasn’t been seen since June 1

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)
Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read