Shaping Burlington presented the following comments on “Burlington Our Future, Draft Intitiatives” at the Community Focus Group held at Tansley Woods on 21 September 2011. The draft plan can be found on the City website at: http://www.burlington.ca/pdfs/BurlingtonOurFutureDraftInitiatives.pdf
Shaping Burlington appreciates the efforts of City staff to incorporate the recommendations of the Shape Report and of the delegations Shaping Burlington has made to City Council in regard to the Strategic Plan. We are very supportive of the clear overall direction to promote community and citizen engagement. We do however believe that the draft Strategic Plan initiatives must be strengthened to reflect better the needs identified in the Shape Report to strongly encourage and facilitate the involvement of Burlington citizens in municipal government. By citizens, we mean residents of Burlington. We suggest the following modifications to the draft Strategic Plan initiatives:
- Under Strategic Direction 1, Objective 2, item 1 – add Burlington Cycling Committee for collaboration on cycling initiatives and Burlington Transit Advisory Committee for collaboration on transit initiatives.
- Under Strategic Direction 2, we note that there is mention of the desirability of avoiding poverty, but no mention of the need to deal with existing poverty issues in Burlington. We suggest that there be a Strategic Initiative to address these issues developed in collaboration with groups working on such issues.
- Under Strategic Direction 3, replace current introductory wording to as follows (changes highlighted) “Creating community confidence through mutual trust and excellence in government. We want Burlington citizens to be proud of and involved in their local government. To be confident that the City is well-managed, forward-thinking, responsible, and responsive to community concerns. This strategic direction is about creating community confidence through mutual trust and excellence in governance. It is also about paying attention to the City as a provider of services and a workplace with a culture of support and engagement for City staff. (The purpose of the wording changes is firstly to recognize the desirability of active citizen involvement in good governance There is also a need to clearly differentiate the roles of the City as a government, a provider of services, and an employer. The word citizen is used in the related strategic initiatives so we suggest using it instead of resident for consistency.)Under Outcomes, we note that there are desired levels under many of the items e.g. quality service delivery, effective governance. We suggest adding “meaningful” in front of citizen involvement to indicate a high expected level. We also suggest changing customer satisfaction to “customer services satisfaction” to link customers to services provided as described in the introductory wording. Similarly, under Key Indicators, we suggest changing customer satisfaction date to ”customer services satisfaction data”
- Also under Strategic Direction 3, we suggest reordering the objectives to place a version of Objective 2 as Objective 1 to reflect the high priority identified in the Shape Report adopted in principle by City Council for strong action to foster a citizen engagement culture. Objective 2 currently reads “forge strong community relationships, with open dialogue and citizen involvement in municipal issues”. This sounds like it could be part of any municipality’s strategic plan – not that of a City such as Burlington with an accepted need to special action. We therefore suggest it be reworded as Objective 1 as follows: “Foster a strong citizen engagement culture through working with communities to encourage and facilitate citizen participation in municipal government.”Under Strategic Initiative 1, we suggest there should be a Deliverable related to the Expected Result “open data”. under strategic initiative 3, we suggest adding “Public involvement Coordinator” hired as a deliverable. We also suggest specifically identifying “staff training” as a deliverable under this initiative. We also suggest, under Deliverables for Strategic Initiative 4, identifying the communication strategy as being two-way to emphasize the need for feedback mechanisms.
- We note that there is no mention of providing updates to the community on the progress of implementing the various initiatives in the Strategic Plan. We suggest a separate strategic direction to describe how this will be accomplished.
Chair, Shaping Burlington