Public Consultations: Why, What and How?

Quick Overview of Upcoming Public Consultation Types August 30, 2013 BlogORLive_Photo_Town_Hall_2013-08-29TORONTO - What's the public consultation process all about and what are the different types of events? Sometime this fall, City staff will finalize its report on dangerous jet proposal for the waterfront and report to City Council via the Executive Committee (the quasi-cabinet of the Mayor). This report will most likely a recommendation for City Councillors how to decide on the issue. Before that, three - possibly four public consultations will take place (click here for dates). That means we have to give input for this crucial document. City staff, spearheaded by the Waterfront Secretariat, are writing the report together with a bunch of hired consultants. Any stakeholder or resident of Toronto can make a written submission to the process. Even more importantly, the public can influence what's in the report through the public consultations. The public sessions could for example highlight an issue City staff has largely ignored or not focused on. Emphasizing what the City staff has on their radar already and providing completely new information are the two aspects that make the public consultations so crucial. We know that heavy lobbying by Porter and WestJets is going on. One insider's take on it is that "there is no such thing as an objective staff report." That means we have to speak out and show strong opposition. Types of public consultations:
  • Drop-in: it's an opportunity for participants to come and view boards, materials etc. and ask the city staff who are present ¬†questions.
  • Workshop: a Q &A with all stakeholders which will provide all with as much information as possible. This is where the public, but also the TPA, Porter and other can bring in questions, statements and concerns.
  • Town hall: will provide an overview of all information gathered via survey, drop-ins, workshops and written submissions. This might be the last opportunity for clarification on issues not already addressed.