During Quesnel City Council’s 2019 fall strategic planning session we discussed at length the need to do better at connecting with residents and ratepayers. Council felt we had a good story to tell about our community transition strategies, but it was getting lost in social media debates about discrete decisions we were making that had some people in the community upset.
So, we decided that 2020 would be a year of consultation and more proactive information sharing. We dubbed the initiative “Vision 2020” and staff began planning for town halls and trade show events where we could enable residents to learn more about both our strategies and all the initiatives we have underway to achieve our vision for the community.
Then along came COVID-19, negating our ability to hold large gatherings and causing people to focus instead on this public health emergency.
Fast forward to this spring, and we thought the COVID-19 trendline was moving in the right direction so we planned a September public event to showcase all the investments we’ve made in the City and the various initiatives we have underway to ensure we remain a resilient and sustainable community. Again, the upswing in COVID-19 cases in the North caused us to cancel that in-person community celebration.
Part of the planned fall event was the launch of our new online consultation platform. Staff have been working on this engagement tool throughout the summer and we hope it will be a great supplement to in-person consultations and an interactive way for us to get feedback from the community on an ongoing basis.
That new engagement platform was launched last Friday. Called “Let’s Connect,” this tool will allow residents from both the City and the CRD to give City staff and Council feedback on both current and planned projects and initiatives.
The initial two projects we’re seeking feedback on is the creation of a master plan for LeBourdais Park and our ongoing work to create more rental units in Quesnel.
The LeBourdais Park master plan is needed to further incorporate this major park into our “hosting precinct.” We’ve invested heavily in the new arena, upgrades to the arena plaza, the new playground, and the Museum and Visitor’s Centre building and parking lot. However, we’ve heard feedback that we need to look at upgrading the spray park, create a trail from the Visitor’s Centre directly to the riverfront trail and arena plaza, and upgrade the stage. We’ve also had questions about whether the Rotary ball diamond is the best use of this green space (it’s only used about 50-60 hours a year over a six-week season).
With your feedback and insights, staff and Council intend to develop a master plan for LeBourdais Park which will enable us to create more “shovel-ready” projects that we can attract grant funding to complete.
The other initiative we’re seeking insights into is our need to create more quality rental units in the City using our existing housing stock. This is an ongoing project and we’re using the engagement tool to better inform the public about these accessory dwellings and get feedback on how we can improve this program.
It’s Council’s hope that residents and ratepayers will register for Let’s Connect and begin giving us feedback on an ongoing basis so we can continue to drive our transition strategy forward and ensure that our community continues to be attractive to visitors, residents and investment as we go through this transition period.
We hope you’ll connect with us!
Sign up for Let's Connect!