It was “Public Consultation 101” for city council members Monday morning, as they listened to a Colorado-based expert on why input from the public is a good thing.
They heard several examples of why it’s important and when they can go without it.
It comes only days after a public input session fell apart where the mayor alleged city staff had been attacked, by a citizen’s group called “ready to engage!”
Mayor Nenshi vowed an end to public input sessions on the topic but it appears some don’t agree with the move.
“You have to set the rule right from the beginning and once the rule is set, I think things will be easier and open houses again, what’s the definition of open house,” said Coun. Sean Chu. “As a city have we, communicated properly to the public, for example, is this an information session or a consultation? Because when you say ‘open house’, in people’s mind, they think consultation.”
Councillors questioned as to whether there was something they could be doing differently and whether they had done their part in informing the public properly.
“Whether they’re mistakes or misunderstandings, or the interpretations of those involved on the city level as well as the public level, knowing where they’re going and if there’s a decision to be made, rather than saying I don’t want it and that’s the end of the story,” said Coun. Shane Keating.
He says the level they spend on communications is fine, what they need to do is change the process and format as to how they keep people in the loop.
City officials say Monday’s meeting is a coincidence with recent events and it had been on the books for months.