You often hear me talk about the vision for Kingston as a smart and livable 21st century city. This vision aims to move our community forward in all areas, key among them the relationship between City Hall and Kingstonians. I strongly believe promoting and fostering transparency, accountability and participation are key to building a smart and livable city. Within the Council priority to foster open government is a commitment to engaging residents. I am thrilled to see progress on this priority this week with the release of the draft Public Engagement Framework for community input.
The draft Public Engagement Framework lays out key principles of how and for what purpose the public can and should be engaged. Specifically, the framework outlines;
Realistic expectations for engagement
- The purpose of public engagement is to ensure that all voices are heard and taken into consideration when decisions are being made. Even though all points are considered, final decisions made by Council may not always satisfy everyone who participated in the engagement process.
An approach to planning public engagement programs
- The draft framework is built on the understanding that public engagement is not a single process, but instead has various levels of engagement based on characteristics of individual projects or initiatives. Not all projects require the same level of engagement and the draft framework helps to determine the engagement techniques based on individual projects, their complexity and timelines.
Tools and techniques
- Given that engagement will look different for different projects there are a range of tools and techniques. Based on the level of engagement, from information sharing to empowering the public to engage in decision making, techniques can range from public signage, newsletters, open houses, and surveys to focus groups, working groups and referendums.
Implementation and communication of public engagement programs
- Communicating the engagement plan is important to the success of public engagement; communications plans are separate and will be created to accompany engagement plans. Also critically important is the need to follow-up with those who participated by sharing the recommendations or decisions made, the reason for the recommendations or decisions and how the public input was used.
How can you get involved?
- Visit CityofKingston.ca/GetInvolved to review Kingston’s draft Public Engagement Framework
- Provide your input on the Framework through an online survey, open until March 10.
- Provide your feedback in writing, anytime, by e-mailing LetsConnect@cityofkingston.ca
- Join the open house on March 8 from 4 to 7p.m. at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
The draft Public Engagement Framework is important to the future of how the City will seek your input. I encourage you to review the document and have your say. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts!