City staff take steps to avoid further loss of public comments

By  | November 13, 2017 | 1 Comment | Filed under: TIME FOR A NEW MAYOR AND 90% of COUNCIL IN 2018

Resident says series of incidents ‘demonstrate a blatant disregard for public input’

News06:00 AMby Richard Vivian Cambridge Times
Cambridge city hall

– file photo – Cambridge Times

New processes are being put in place at city hall after several public submissions failed to make it to council.

The missing materials express neighbourhood opposition to plans for a basement apartment on Devil’s Creek Drive in Blair. Discovery of their absence prompted an apology from city staff and inspired council to defer the issue last month.

Council also directed city staff to probe the problem of missing public input.

In response, city officials have made a trio of changes aimed at addressing the problem.

They include directing people who drop off submissions at City Hall to deliver them to the public counter on the third floor, instructing staff to “thoroughly check” for email submissions from the public for planning applications, and implementation of a software program to centralize electronic records.

“It is noted that the city cannot ensure that all letters which are mailed to City Hall via Canada Post regular mail are received,” notes a staff report.

The changes have done little to satisfy the residents involved, especially in light of issues they’ve experienced since last month’s meeting with council.

Video archive of the session’s live stream is missing the audio. In addition, most of the recording related to the residents’ presentation can’t be seen, as the feed was left on the computer desktop screen rather than the cameras.

“We’re very disappointed because we have not been heard properly,” said David Wylie, who noted a previous presentation to council was cut off after five minutes when there should have been a 15-minute limit because of the number of people he was representing.

“It is completely unacceptable how this issue has been handled … whether intentional or not.”

They include directing people who drop off submissions at City Hall to deliver them to the public counter on the third floor, instructing staff to “thoroughly check” for email submissions from the public for planning applications, and implementation of a software program to centralize ele

The cumulative incidents “demonstrate a blatant disregard for public input,” he added.

“You have the right to be upset,” Coun. Jan Liggett told the residents. “Staff didn’t do anything deliberately, I assure you.”

City council members approved the basement apartment last week, pointing to the need for a range of housing options in the city. In addition, provincial policies encourage secondary units in homes.

“It’s coming to every single neighbourhood in Ontario,” Coun. Nicholas Ermeta said of allowing secondary units in houses. “You won’t be able to escape it, whether in Kenora or down in Windsor, or if you’re in the middle of the city or a rural area.”

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One Response to City staff take steps to avoid further loss of public comments

  1. mjqsmith@bell.net'
    Maggie November 17, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Interesting – all that overpaid Staff & they lose information. hmmmmm
    I understand how that happens – i tried to put in a complaint against our Mayor, and surprise surprise – that video was missing. Really – guess it just happens when needed to happen. Is this the picture?
    Time will tell about more important missing necessary info and videos.
    Keep an eye on this Taxpayers – you could be the next victim or loser.

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