General public can share some blame for lack of information

Re: Public process sorely lacking, Opinion, June 9.

To the Editor,

Re: Public process sorely lacking, Opinion, June 9.

While I would not disagree that the city of Nanaimo elected and non-elected officials seem to only prefer public input if it supports their choice of actions, the lack of public input is not entirely the fault of city officials and how they do business.

For example, last summer there was a reverse referendum proposition which allowed the city to borrow $22.5 million for the water treatment plant.

The public hearing was advertised in both local papers and on the city website.

I attended the meeting from open to close and can honestly say, there were more people on the lawn bowling green than attended the hearing.

More recently we engaged in a $120,000 strategic plan which again was heavily advertised and over the course of five or six public meetings barely 300 people took part in total.

That means that a strategic plan to guide the city through to 2025 is being crafted based on less than one per cent of the population participating in the process.

The last civic election saw less than 30 per cent of the eligible voters turnout.

So while indeed, the city can be fairly criticized for what appears to be manipulation of the system to arrive at a pre-determined outcome, the general public needs to become far more engaged in the whole process.

Why do city council and city staff seem to ignore public opinion? Because the public has taught them they can.

Jim Taylor

Nanaimo

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