Community engagement should be more than presentation of plan
Re: Community engagement
Bowen council has approved what may become the municipality’s largest cash expenditure ever, without public consultation. This will affect every Bowen Islander.
On November 26, 2012, council unanimously voted to adopt Plan Q, a profound change in ferry marshalling infrastructure in Snug Cove. In the minutes of that council meeting, they instructed municipal staff to develop a public consultation process to gather information and input from Bowen Islanders. Instead of consultation, next month the council’s engineering consultant will deliver an “Public Open House” to Bowen taxpayers and residents whereby we will be informed of details of this expensive and unneeded plan. As well, throughout this process, council has not initiated studies to identify problems with the current ferry marshalling, stated how this new plan addresses them, nor have they shown how their car-focused initiative meshes with the pedestrian-focused Snug Cove Village Plan or Bowen’s Official Community Plan.
Highlights of Plan Q include: the immediate expenditure of $650,000 dollars on a traffic circle at the intersection of Government and Cardena (with a proposed tax increase of $134 per household for at least two years); a total expenditure of $5.5 million (no details on how high our taxes will be raised); the removal of 1.3 acres of Crippen Park through purchase or trade (no costs provided), a dangerous centre lane marshalling and loading system, and a near doubling of the amount of pavement in Snug Cove.
Will council be holding a town hall meeting to listen to, record and act on input and comments of citizens? I see no provision for that. The open house will feature a presentation from the consultant with some time for one-on-one conversation between the consultant and citizens. According to a statement by the consultant at a council meeting, council, mayor and councillors need not attend.
Has council made information about this expensive Plan Q (Government Road Corridor Improvement Program) easily available on the municipality’s website? No. Under current topics, the link to the consultant’s report on the BIM website (http://www.bimbc.ca/files/embedded2010/121126SpC5.1a.pdf) has been broken for months.