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At the Council C.O.W. meeting on November 14, a Community Engagement policy was put forward but approval was postponed until input could be obtained from the public.  Comments made were finally presented at the Council meeting on December 12 and responses to the comments were included. There were six submissions from the public and two submissions from members of Council.  Although the names of those asking questions were provided, the text of their questions was not. Instead, a single sentence summary plus a response was given. Some of the responses seemed to indicate that the original policy was revised. 

The Policy was  described in this post: Community Engagement policy

You can download the full Comments document here or just read the summary below.

Name Comment Response
Astrid Hudson Examine more informal ways of engagement, such as having coffee, walks along the beach etc. Councillors are already doing this by attending community events. For example Marie Dressler Exhibit and Open House, Christmas & Santa Claus Parade, Christmas Magic, Art Gallery of Northumberland WW1 Exhibit, Open Invitation to the Ceremony: To End the Violence and upcoming Mayor's Levee.
Ted Williams One Way Forum for Councillors to speak to the community Council believes that communication is certainly a two-way communication. Individual Councillors can speak independently, but often await a staff report to ensure all facets of an issue have been covered. A Council member must be very careful not to speak on behalf of the municipality as this role within our Town Procedural By-Law is under the Mayor's role and responsibilities.
Ted Williams and Dennis Nabieszko Questions from the public at Council meetings
  • There is now live streaming of all council sessions;
  •  Cobourg is one of a few municipalities that allows Delegations or Presentations to Council at both the Committee of the Whole and Council meetings; Councillors and staff meet with various individuals or organizations regularly to dialogue on common projects or concerns;
  • The web site and local newspaper provide information;
  • Councillors have attended professional training sessions and their strong recommendation is to refrain from allowing a question period after Council sessions. At this time, Council will not be adopting a question period.
  Town Hall meetings — just to listen Presently, this Council and Staff promote Open, Public Meetings per the Planning Act as well as critical projects of interest to the community. Some recent examples are Henley Arcade Mural, CCC Campus Master Plan, Heritage Master Plan, and Parks & Culture Recreation Strategy and Implementation Plan.  Under the Municipal Act, once Council meets with a quorum (4/7 Council members), then the meeting is no longer informal. In fact, it is deemed to be a formal Council session and all corresponding Bylaws and Town procedures must be followed. [But this does not apply if no council business is discussed].
  Advisory Committees - Open House once a quarter Advisory Committees are open to the public. Citizens may participate in the meeting as a delegation or to make a presentation.
  Mayor to allow phone in questions at Cogeco's Municipal Matters During his scheduled Municipal Matters, Mayor Brocanier promotes phone calls and e-mail questions several times throughout the program by providing the phone number and the e-mail citizens can use.
Municipal Matters take place on the first Wednesday of each month starting at 7 p.m. (except July-August)
Brian Donaldson, Terry Marrocco and Deputy Mayor Henderson Policy and guidelines' language are not user-friendly and could be written in plain language When policies or guidelines are being developed, working towards user-friendly or plain language is certainly a worthy outcome
  Use the term residents not citizens There are citizens and staff who are residents of other municipalities but own land/property in the Town of Cobourg and pay Cobourg taxes.
  Remove the repetitive pages The Policy is intended for Council's use, as part of its Governance oversight and the guidelines (Procedure) is for staff use. Repeating pages makes it easier to get info by just accessing the section of interest.
Terry Marrocco Create a Communications Committee Council will be reviewing its Strategic Plan and Governance early 2017.  Communications and a possible communications committee will be discussed. 
  What about residents or groups who wish to communicate informally with the Town. The Mayor and Councillors promote an open door policy and meet many times with citizens at their request. The Mayor and Councillors can also be contacted by e-mail, phone or by speaking with us at our many municipal-community functions occurring throughout the year.
Gil Brocanier, Mayor Include language dealing with Town Council and Staff into the Policy. Language was incorporated by making reference to The Corporation of the Town of Cobourg and Municipal Council throughout the policy. For Municipal Staff the additional comment added was "Responsible to ensure that the venue and the communications equipment are appropriate. "
John Henderson, Deputy Mayor Add an additional step "Evaluation" Evaluation was added to the Policy.


A revised policy has not yet been released. The original (Draft) Policy documents are available here:

 

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