Trail council lists its top priorities

Trail council is seeking to discuss priorities with residents in a less formal setting than council chambers.

The Silver City has seen a lot of action this year, and Trail council wants to talk to you about it, face-to-face.

“We don’t just wiggle our nose to get things done,” said Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, acting Mayor.

“We want to talk to people about their concerns and give them an opportunity to become involved in the process.”

Gattafoni-Robinson is referring to community engagement, an item on council’s list of top priorities for the remainder of its current term, which was discussed at the Monday night meeting.

Out of 15 key initiatives, engaging the community face-to-face rallied five votes in terms of importance to council.

Although council members regularly attend community events in the role of public servant, the forum used to address resident’s concerns is often perceived to be threatening and repercussive.

“People can feel intimidated if they have to come to council chambers to voice a concern, which is understandable,” said Gattafoni-Robinson.

“But if you have a concern we want to hear it and talk about it,” she said.

“We understand it may feel more comfortable to ask a question out of chambers, and face-to-face.”

In an effort to move away from a “cookie cutter” approach, council is considering “to go where the people are.”

Hosting town hall meetings and using a mobile kiosk staffed by council at various community events is being considered, said David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer.

“We are thinking about more interaction on a social level and in a less intimidating atmosphere like the Trail Market,” explained Gattafoni-Robinson.

“Because talking about concerns is good for us and it is good for you.”

The task of selecting key priorities was tackled by council at workshop facilitated by a local government consultancy company in May.

After group discussion, council identified its role, expectations and challenges within the community.

Then council members were given three blue stickers (worth two points) and three red stickers (worth one point) and asked to vote for the initiatives they deemed most important.

Topping the list was boundary expansion with 10 points; airport acquisition, eight points; community broadband, economic development and pipe bridge construction each garnered seven points; and promoting sale of city-owned properties on the Esplanade, six points.

However, the key priorities are not set in stone and may be shuffled as the year progresses.

In light of Telus and Shaw Communications announcing million dollar investments to upgrade internet services to fibre optics in Trail this year, the city’s plan to provide a similar service to downtown businesses may be thwarted.

“The need for the city to pursue community broadband and create redundant service may now not be as important,” said Perehudoff.

He said council will reconsider this priority at its next formal review.

Perehudoff noted that although library relocation is not on its priority list, the city remains steadfast on its offer made public earlier this year.

“The city is committed to set aside land for a new building and to proceed with conceptual drawings and budget to take forward to referendum in November 2014.”

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