Burns Lake residents can expect to see a series of public engagement events within the next few weeks.
Given the dwindling attendance of Burns Lake’s annual town hall meetings, last year council decided to replace its annual town hall meetings with a series of public engagement events.
Most of these events were held in November of 2015.
This year, however, council decided to hold these events before May 31. This way, feedback from community members can be incorporated into the village’s strategic planning.
Council has to complete a three-year strategic planning – 2017 to 2019 – before May 31, 2016. Municipal objectives used to be decided year to year; however, in 2015 council decided that it would be more beneficial to plan long-term objectives and then allow for adjustments each year.
Between now and the end of May 2016, the Burns Lake council plans to hold several events, including:
– Coffee with the Mayor at A&W. According to a village staff report, this event received good feedback from members of the public who attended it last fall. Approximately 50 residents attended and were able to have an informal discussion with council regarding municipal issues;
– Burns Lake and District Chamber of Commerce board member engagement. According to village staff, this is an effective means of reaching out to the business community;
– Lakes District Secondary School student engagement. Last fall council met with the student leadership group and had an extensive conversation around municipal issues. During that meeting, students asked council to return when doing another round of engagement;
– Council was also planning to do a barbecue event in the park at Spirit Square. However, councillors decided that it would be better to hold this event at the Lakeview Mall’s parking lot;
– Additionally, feedback will be solicited through social media, and a resident survey will be distributed during all events.
The dates for these public engagement events had not been set by press time.
Burns Lake’s last town hall meeting – held at the Vineyard Church on Jan. 29, 2015 – had only 14 attendees and cost the village $3100.
According to Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer for the Village of Burns Lake, holding public engagement events is “much more cost-effective and far reaching” in terms of public feedback.
The four engagement events held in November of 2015 cost the village approximately $700. The most popular topics raised by the public in 2015 during the engagement process included the closure of re-use sheds, recycling options, the region-wide cardboard ban and Lakeside Multiplex fees.