Public meetings

Are the costly information sessions that are held by the City of Vernon for our public input worth it? I say no.

In January, I was informed of a meeting via mail. I did some work. I looked at the planned area involved and took a few measurements. I noticed possible changes and constructed a list and for each point I gave my reasons for my way of thinking. I printed up my rough drawing and my list.

At the meeting, I went to the table assigned for the project I was interested in and had a brief discussion with the woman present. Upon leaving, I presented her with my drawing and ideas. I had complete contact information on it. I assumed she would present it to the person in charge of the project.

Then in May, I was informed again via mail, of another meeting just being held and that if I had submitted suggestions, not to worry. I would be contacted. So I did not attend. I never heard back from anyone and so I wrote a letter asking more questions as to why I had not heard back from them. I got a few responses. I replied again asking more questions but saying I was happy I was heard, and they just left it at that. I then was told that the bids for the contracts were let before the second meeting. Is this a waste of time and money?

If you attend these meetings, there’s a few pointers I have learned. Make a list of all your questions and suggestions and present them at the meeting, but also make a copy for each council member and the person responsible for the project and drop them off at city hall in the mail box provided.

If you see things like “City’s road standards which sets out the reduction of road cross sections to reduce road reconstruction costs while meeting the long term needs for capacity,” how old are these standards? Was the public involved in setting these standards? This means things like reducing the width of the road to reduce the costs of resurfacing at a later date. Most residential streets have not been repaved in 50 years, so make them as wide as possible and safer instead of spending millions to buy land, tear the building down, pave and lease it out for parking, while at the same time taking away parking.

Also things like, “These standards do reduce the width of the road and also reduces the amount of on street parking” Again, instead of spending millions to buy land, tear the building down, pave and lease out for parking, while at the same time taking away parking. They also use this to say they are speeding up traffic.

With the population density increasing in many of our older neighbourhoods, the extra on street parking is required.

The only time I get replies is when it is regarding a bylaw amendment asking for a variance, and they never fail.

Garry Haas


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