Tuesday, November 24, 2015

eTown Hall Meeting - Worthwhile Budget Exercise?

Poorly Attended - Little 'Budget' Discussion

The third eTown Hall meeting with the budget as the topic of discussion brought a pretty underwhelming response from Nanaimo citizens. The event was poorly attended with many vacant seats at Shaw Auditorium and little participation. Few of the questions dealt with anything specific about the 2016 budget with the exception of one audience member who simply said he has lived here for 40 years and never seen his taxes go down, and is getting weary of never-ending increases.

In spite of the Mayor advising people with questions to not expect responses from all Council members as that would be too time consuming, questions to do with bike paths and dog parks did elicit responses from most of council who seemed to take the opportunity to politic. 

The lacklustre participation could have a variety of contributing factors such as being poorly promoted, it is noted that the Facebook page for the event indicated that while 611 people had been invited only 24 are listed as 'went'. Rather than poor promotion, the attendance could also be the result of taxpayers recognizing their participation will have no impact on the actual budget process.

It did demonstrate that this forum, could be useful in the area of community engagement and getting some worthwhile communication established between the elected and the electorate. I seem to remember last year councillors saying that these type of meetings should be something the city did on at least a quarterly basis in the interest of keeping in touch with Nanaimo taxpayers.


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