Penticton’s new engagement consultant facing big challenge

The first job for Penticton's new engagement consultant is public input on the city's $175-million infrastructure deficit

The City of Penticton has gone ahead with plans to hire an engagement consultant.

JoAnne Kleb has been contracted by the city to fill a role that city council approved in August, described then as developing an engagement strategy, but also engaging the community on upcoming and ongoing city projects like the Official Community Plan review, the Facilities Master Plan, Tourism and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Read more: Penticton looking to be more engaging

“I plan to get out in front of the community as much as possible to provide information, help people understand the issues and of course, take your opinions, ideas and feedback to city hall staff and council to be incorporated into the decision making process,” said Kleb in a press release from the city.

The city’s $175-million infrastructure deficit, which was made public last week, is now the first issue Kleb will have to deal with. As city staff work on developing a plan to deal with the deficit, Kleb has been tasked with seeking community input.

“Infrastructure doesn’t mean much to most people, but it is a complex issue which is going to affect the services and facilities we use every day and how we pay for them,” said Kleb. “I’ll be working to raise awareness of the challenge the City is facing and gathering feedback on how the people of Penticton think this problem could best be tackled.”

Kleb is hosting three public information sessions next week: Oct. 12 at the Penticton Public Library from 4 to 7 p.m.; Oct. 13 at the Community Centre pool from 3 to 6 p.m.; Oct. 15 at Cherry Lane Mall from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. More information and feedback possibilities are available at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.

In August, city council approved a budget for the position of $70,000 annually, plus $15,000 for software costs.

Read more: City looking to improve consultation processes