It's more than submissions and online survey!
Public participation in city affairs is vital. Not just at election year. Not just through formal submissions, or public forums at Council (where if you are lucky you will be given minutes to speak to Council). No, we all get better results when communities are empowered. Empowered to help define problems and create solutions. Empowered to support each other at a community level. For example, through supporting voluntary and community groups to do the work they do really well. For example, our community houses (such as Pukete Community House), our green space restoration groups (such as Riverlea Restoration Society).
Empowering businesses is also important, by hearing from the the barriers and opportunities. and co-designing solutions
Last year I undertook training provided by the International Association for Public Participation. There are so many tools and methods to choose from to get people engaged with what we do. The Communications team and Community Development Team do a good job and are passionate about Hamilton. At a governance level however, we can do better at getting our citizens involved in the decisions we make.
It's about actively listening to the community, by being among them and talking with them. It's about setting up processes to enable community led development. It is NOT last minute, not out of the blue and NOT just in election years.