Mayor Gregor Robertson was joined today by members of his Engaged City Task Force to launch a comprehensive set of steps to improve public consultation and enable stronger civic engagement in Vancouver.
“The City of Vancouver is a leader in a number of ways, but when it comes to civic engagement, we can do better," said Mayor Gregor Robertson. "City Hall needs to adapt in a time of higher public expectations for access to City policy decisions, an increasingly diverse population and fast-moving technological change - the way people engage and want to communicate with each other and their civic government has changed dramatically in the past decade.
"Families and people of all ages work, live, play, go to school, and retire here - and we should be a global leader in how we work together and use innovative methods to seek out opinions, share information, and foster greater connection, trust and understanding between residents, and between residents and City Hall. The work and recommendations of this task force will help honour our commitment to bring City Hall into the 21st century and make it more accessible to everyone."
The first report of the Engaged City Task Force released today contains an ambitious set of 16 recommendations for implementation within a six-month timeframe, focusing on engagement at a neighbourhood level, improving civic education, improving the development approval process, and using social media and new technologies for civic engagement. The recommendations include:
- a Mobile City Hall, which would provide basic city services in neighbourhoods distant from City Hall;
- participatory budgeting, where residents could make budget decisions on local neighbourhood improvements;
- redesigning development signage, to make it easier to read and understand
- a City of Vancouver Open Doors day, where residents could learn more about their city by getting to see behind the scenes of local facilities like City Hall, performance venues, or utilities
- a City-wide Block Party Day, to encourage neighbourhoods to hold block parties and get to know their neighbours
- bringing 3-1-1 online, starting an Engaged City twitter handle, and launching an Online Engagement Panel, where residents can provide ongoing feedback on civic issues to City Hall
The Task Force will develop a final report by the end of July, and over the coming weeks will be actively inviting more people into the discussion of ideas. Much of the Task Force’s work has focused on ways to better include Vancouver's diverse communities in civic dialogue.
“Vancouver is known worldwide for our multicultural mosaic, but we need to be working to ensure that people and neighbourhoods do not feel isolated from each other or their government,” added the Mayor. “That’s why we’ve assembled such a diverse team of engagement leaders to help make the City more focused on connecting with its residents. We can't solve our toughest challenges as a City without an engaged and civic-minded community. These recommendations are an exciting step toward building a stronger, more connected Vancouver."