It was a quiet week at city council, which is ironic because the subject matter of the workshop this week was all about communications. Council covered the various aspects of how the City communicates information and how they encourage Guelphites to communicate back to them. Also, how does community investment in Guelph work? That and many other questions will be answered in this week’s recap.
Workshop Meeting of City Council – May 17
An irregular third week meeting on the irregular meeting day of Wednesday and it didn’t even generate much controversy. It helped that there was no decision being made, just another workshop meeting of city council.
There were two topics in this round, and the first was Strategic Communications and Community Engagement. Staff led council through the reasons why they do community engagement, the new direction for that engagement through the “One City One Voice Shared Purpose” document, and some of the changes to the Community Engagement Framework that will be coming to council sometime next month.
Council then took part in a little interactive activity; they had to review three community engagement documents in advance of the meeting and then share with staff the things they liked, the things they didn’t like, and the ways that staff can improved these reports. Members of council were big fans of brevity and seeing data points represented visually in charts and graphs. They also asked about seeing the break down of how feedback was gathered between the various types of engagement, and whether engagement information could be offered in multiple languages. Additionally, they shared concerns about A.I. and losing residents that are not tech savvy in the new process.
The second part of the evening was called “Community Investment in Focus”, and it focused on – You guessed it! – community investment. Staff took council through the various partnerships that the City of Guelph has through Community Benefit Agreements, how Community Grants help realize different projects and the various subsidy programs like the affordable bus pass, Welcome to Guelph, and the Fee Assistance in Recreation (FAIR).
There were fewer questions from council about this item, but a few members did inquire about oversight of the community funds, how progress and efficiency are measured, and how City staff share all that information with council.
Click here to see the complete recap of the meeting.