This year’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ (UBCM) convention theme is all about the use of social media and enhanced communication. We know the value of communication as a tool to reach out, educate, inform and engage the public.
As you know, I am a passionate advocate for accessible and timely communication between communities and their local government, hence this blog and my ongoing efforts to encourage Oak Bay Council to develop such tools as a new website, to create greater opportunities for public input at Council meetings and to embrace social media as a means of practicing open and transparent government. Neighbourhood and town hall meetings, regular newsletters and an emphasis on communication in everything we do are just a few of my priorities as your Council member.
People want to connect with their elected representatives and influence change on such issues as how local governments spend tax dollars, how neighbourhoods are planned and how community transportation and infrastructure are maintained.
As the preamble to the convention states, “As local governments explore the potential of these [communications] tools, the basic questions of good governance remain — are we hearig what the community is saying, and does the community hear what we are saying?”
This year’s convention is in Victoria and runs from September 24 to 28 and I will be attending. It’s time locally elected representatives came together to talk about the importance of good communication practices with residents — as far as I am concerned, effective communication is really all about effective public accountability.