Former City of Penticton development services director Anthony Haddad (right) and engagement officer JoAnne Kleb talk to a local cyclist in 2017 about his concerns with parking in the city. (Western News file photo)

Lessons learned in past will help for Penticton community engagement policy

Draft policy on community engagement has been developed and is available for residents to review

The City of Penticton is about to formalize its commitment to engaging with the community in decisions that matter to residents.

A draft council policy on community engagement has been developed and is available for residents to review and comment on before it is reviewed by council at their meeting on Oct. 15.

“This policy reflects the lessons we have learned over the past few years as well as the best practices of other communities,” said engagement strategist JoAnne Kleb, in a news release. “We are really formalizing what we have been doing to ensure we aspire to the same standards for years to come.”

The policy includes a commitment to conduct engagement activities in accordance with the standards set by the globally recognized leader in community engagement, the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). It lists the key principles that will guide Penticton’s efforts such as a commitment to being open and transparent as well as accountable to the citizens.

A draft Community Engagement Framework has also been produced to explain the policy and the city’s approach to implementing it. Both documents can be reviewed at shapeyourcitypenticton.c. Print copies are available at city hall and the library. The city is accepting feedback on the documents until Oct. 5.

“While being a relatively new activity since I entered politics, formal engagement programs are now becoming the norm in communities across Canada,” said Mayor John Vassilaki. “We’re really seeing the value engagement planning provides Council across a wide range of topics.”

The city is nearing another major engagement milestone in addition to the policy. Registration on the city’s online engagement tool shapeyourcitypenticton.ca is nearing 5,000 members representing nearly 15 per cent of the population.

“This is a significant achievement for a city of our size,” said Kleb. “It’s a reflection of the growing interest of residents in influencing the direction of the community and the role of this website as a vehicle to provide feedback to council.”

In celebration of the milestone, the city is awarding the 5,000 person to sign up from Penticton with a $100 gift card. Residents are also invited to drop by the city’s booth at the Downtown Market on Sept. 21 to have a piece of cake and to discuss the draft engagement policy. Residents interested in viewing the draft documents and sharing their feedback can visit shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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