Basic Building Blocks – Roles and Responsibilities III

May 15, 2012


Last one but an important one….

See previous posts: Basic Building Blocks, Basic Building Blocks – Roles and Responsibilities, Basic Building Blocks – Roles and Responsibilities) on this topic.

The Community elects Council.  The Community provides taxes to City Hall to deliver services.  Does it end there?








Guelph is known far and wide for its active citizenry – both its volunteerism and its participation in local decision making. 

Talking to members of Council who served in the 80s, public involvement was scarce to non-existent.  I stand to be corrected but one of the early public consultation processes appears to be the establishment of a Waste Management Public Advisory Committee in response to community concerns over a proposal to build a waste incinerator on Arboretum lands (the outcome of this process was Council approving a two stream Wet/Dry system which subsequently changed to the three-stream system we have today).

The 90s saw an explosion of interest in the community for involvement in local decision making.  Council appointed a citizens’ committee to develop Guiding Principles for Public Involvement.  They are still relevant today. 

The City’s practices have evolved over the years embracing new methodologies for engaging the community in local decision making.  We have moved beyond simply consulting on more complex decisions – where we simply seek the views of the public on a decision – to more deliberative approaches that ask the public to participate in the task of evaluating these different views. 

Tonight the Guelph Community Wellbeing Leadership Group is hosting a presentation by Don Lenihan that describes the next step in our journey.  Using the term Public Engagement in a precise way, this approach casts individuals, private sector enterprises, community benefit organizations and the public sector as partners so we can bring all the resources of the community to bear on solving our challenges and creating a sense of community ownership over the solutions.


About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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