You will often hear a common refrain from people: “No one in government cares what I think,” or, “City hall doesn’t want to hear from me.”
And that attitude is understandable given the actions of bureaucrats and politicians, particularly at the federal and provincial level.
However, the City of Vernon has initiated attempts to be more transparent and open. Through a simple survey, the city wants to get a sense of its relationship with developers and businesses.
Hundreds of customer satisfaction surveys were handed out in 2014 to people with development, business license and building permit applications. A pathetic 17 were actually filled out and returned.
“Engagement with the public is a two-way street, and while I’m pleased the city is reaching out, citizens also have a responsibility to bring forward their feedback,” said Coun. Scott Anderson.
Yes residents, developers and business owners have hectic schedules but the survey isn’t particularly onerous or time-consuming. It can probably be done while enjoying a coffee or in between customers.
But during those few minutes, residents can make a difference.
They can use their first-hand experience to tell city hall if it is meeting their needs or if more can be done to facilitate developers and businesses, and that is critically important information as Vernon continues to recover economically and competes with other communities for limited investors’ dollars.
City hall may not respond in the fashion you would like for a variety of financial and practical reasons, but at least they can’t say they didn’t hear from you.
Rarely does government want feedback so take advantage of the opportunity.