I have had several concerned citizens approach me over the past couple of weeks saying that they are unsatisfied with town council and the way in which, to some extent, the town is being run. The majority of these people state that they feel that decisions are being made without public input and that bylaws, infrastructure initiatives and budget items are being passed without proper public consultation.
I don’t think this is anything new in any political environment, however it is something that should be looked at from both sides. Town council and the mayor need to take steps to open communication with the public, and the citizens of Lake Cowichan need to remember that council meetings are a regular occurrence and that they are invited to attend each meeting (Tuesdays at 5 p.m.).
However, that being said, I am a working mother whose day is very full, and, until now, I have never been a very politically active person. But, I do care about what happens in my community. I want to know the issues. I want to have input. I want to know that my children will inherit a world, or at least a community, that is sustainable, prosperous, safe, and clearly visioned. But I do not have time, at the end of my day, to attend meetings, go to rallies, be part of planning, or to do all of the things that are required of someone who has taken on the role of a public figure. And I’m sure I’m not alone. So how do these things become balanced?
My advice to council and town officials, for what it’s worth, is to utilize the internet and the media as much as possible. To take a stance that is open and engaging towards the public. To think outside the box when it comes to creating public engagement and input. This could include online polls, strategic advertising, creating public forums for debate outside of council meeting dates and times.
To help try and facilitate more awareness in the community about what council is up to, I have started a new town council calendar (see page 3) which will be updated each week. In this way, I hope help to keep the public up to speed and informed.
Concerned citizens can also keep abreast of current town events by going to the town’s website town.lakecowichan.bc.ca, or to the town’s Facebook page facebook.com/pages/Town-of-Lake-Cowichan/144661495631081?ref=ts.
As always, the Lake Cowichan Gazette would like to hear from you, the public, about issues that concern your every day life and your community. If you would like to see coverage on a certain initiative, controversy, or idea, contact our office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 250-749-4383.