Big Lakes County prepares plan to engage citizens

Big Lakes County councillors promote services and programs at their display at the annual High Prairie Gun and Sportsman Show on April 20-21. Left-right, are Enilda – Big Meadow Councillor Lane Monteith and Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County council members will soon be more visible at community events to allow citizens to share their views and discuss issues with elected officials.

At its regular meeting April 24, council directed administration to draft a community engagement policy.

The proposal was presented by Reeve Tyler Airth as a late agenda item at council’s regular meeting March 27.

Council plans to have a Big Lakes presence at local events as a way to engage more citizens.

CAO David Reynolds says council has discussed the issue for some time.

“One of the things we’ve been talking about in the past few months is community engagement,” Reynolds says.

“We want to find out what residents want.

“How can we get citizens more engaged with the County?”

He adds the program will provide residents a simple way to share their views on County services and discuss them with council members.

“We want to find out how residents are feeling about service and costs,” Reynolds says.

“We can help build our budget with that in the future.”

Big Lakes promoted its services and programs at the annual High Prairie Gun and Sportsman Show where council and staff were available to discuss issues and concerns.

North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk had some doubt about the engagement program.

“I was at the gun show and I never had any ratepayers express any concerns,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone will come.”

Instead of hosting a separate event on its own, council representatives would be present at community events.

“We’re not going to have our own function,” Airth said.

“It’s simply not going to be a whole day, just a couple of hours.”

South Gilwood – Sunset House Councillor Ann Stewart recommended council members not be paid for attending the events, which other members of council support.

Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt recommended the events be attended by the local council member and one other council member.

Reynolds explained the focus of engage in a report April 24.

“Resident engagement events serve as crucial platforms to foster community involvement and enhance civic participation,” Reynolds said.

“These events provide opportunities for council and administration to interact directly with residents, gather feedback, address concerns and collaborate on local issues.”

Resident engagement events would promote transparency and accountability.

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