New public engagement strategy adopted

Fifty-five recommendations included in strategy endorsed by Township council

A new public engagement strategy to improve communication about development proposals between the Township of Langley and its residents has been unanimously endorsed by Township council.

The strategy, which will be put in place over the next two years, contains 55 recommended actions including creating an engagement charter, providing tools and training for Township staff, using “citizen dialogue practitioners” and “expert facilitators to ensure confidence,” developing videos to explain planning, creating a community database and using creative engagement tools to make it fun and easy for residents to participate.

“This is an important step in the road that we’ve taken to improve public engagement, and it’s a desire that this council’s had and expressed as one of the priorities,” Mayor Jack Froese said during the March 21 afternoon council meeting.

The public engagement strategy was put forward by the Mayor’s Standing Committee — which was established in February 2015 — and is made up of members of council and the community.

The strategy will cost approximately $160,000 to implement, according to a report received by council on March 21.

Of that, $50,000 is currently available in the Township’s existing budgets, $55,000 will come from 2016 contingencies and $55,000 will be included in the 2017 annual budget.

The first step will be developing an engagement charter, with a draft expected to be presented to council by the summer.

The majority of the recommended actions in the public engagement strategy will be put into action in 2016 to coincide with current planning in Brookswood-Fernridge and the Williams area in Willoughby.

The remainder  will be put in place in 2017 or categorized as ongoing.

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