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Business Leader Summer 2018
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Split Decision

by Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik

Municipal surveys

For the public good

While those of us who live in Centre Wellington might be a tad overwhelmed with the number of surveys and community input sessions available to us right now, we need to be reminded that having this tool available to us is essential.

Sure, the democratic process means we elect individuals to represent us in these types of manners. But that doesn’t mean our voice is lost in the bureaucratic process.

Centre Wellington has finally closed its survey on the Victoria Street pedestrian bridge in Elora.  They offered eight options for the community to pick from, with only one falling within the budget.

The bridge project has been a contentious issue since the beginning, as people bicker over the source of funding, the design of the bridge and whether or not the bridge is even needed.

Either way, the town has approved spending $1.1 million, and the residents should have a say.

The public information meetings, which are a requirement for many municipal processes, are evolving to allow those unable to physically attend to voice their opinions.

In Wellington North, the public information evenings were complemented by online surveys.  

It was just another forum for the public to speak up. In that way, it turned out in the township’s favour, with over 400 respondents to the online survey.

– Olivia


What happened to talking?

Centre Wellington Township is looking to transform the foundations of the old Victoria Street bridge in Elora into a new pedestrian bridge.

That sounds like an awesome idea. Who wouldn’t want a convenient walkway from one of the few water-side parking lots right to the heart of downtown shops?

However, the route to get to that feature is a little suspect.

The township was set to hold  a public meeting on Nov. 22 where the public was encouraged to come out, learn about the eight options, and tell council their thoughts at the following special meeting.

Oh, and they could fill out a survey.

It’s a little scary when surveys seem to be the dominant trend.

The format allows governments to give citizens a sense that their views and concerns are being heard and considered, but who’s to say where those survey results go and how they’re used?

What happened to the good old democratic system where we elect an official representative who is supposed to work on our behalf?

Oh right, in the President Trump-era, where national announcements are made via Twitter, I guess it’s too much to ask municipal councillors to use good old face-to-face communication outside of the meeting setting.

Why make the effort to talk when a five minute survey will “satisfy” constituents?

– Jaime

Vol 50 Issue 47


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