KINGS COUNTY - There’s a new way to weigh in on important topics within the Municipality of the County of Kings.
The municipality is now encouraging residents to try PlaceSpeak, a new online engagement tool that can be accessed via the County of Kings website.
“This is really the future of engaging people. You just can’t sit in your office anymore and expect people to come and talk,” said interim Kings County CAO Rick Ramsay.
“Some people can’t get out to meetings, so they can go online and use that tool to give us feedback.”
Through PlaceSpeak, residents will have the opportunity to participate in polls, offer comments, post photos, answer discussion questions, review online resources and follow important projects developing in their communities.
Melissa Morrison, executive coordinator for the County of Kings, said several online engagement tools were considered after council approved a Community Engagement Strategy in August 2016, and PlaceSpeak seemed to be the best fit for their purposes.
“It’s very user friendly,” she added.
PlaceSpeak can be used to gather input from the public that council can then use to make important decisions about such things as developing projects, recreation or policy changes.
“It will free people up to say what they like,” said Ramsay, noting that many residents are not comfortable voicing their opinions at public meetings.
Members of the public will have the opportunity to use PlaceSpeak between 9 a.m. March 21 and 4 p.m. March 31 to join in on a conversation about the potential location and building elements for the new municipal complex. Those who still prefer more traditional public forums are invited to attend a consultation session slated to take place at the Waterville Fire Hall at 6:30 p.m. March 30.
“The online engagement tool is a way to reduce barriers, increase transparency and facilitate two-way communication. The hope is that through this tool we can make better decisions, save time and resources, build stronger relationships, and better inform residents of projects going on in their communities,” a prepared statement on the County of Kings website reads.
Interested residents can get started by clicking on the PlaceSpeak icon at www.countyofkings.ca.
Did you know?
Kentville’s town council has also taken steps to promote transparency and encourage public engagement by using more online resources. They started live streaming meetings Jan. 30, improved the process through which agendas and minutes from meetings are posted online and started publishing council expenses on the Town of Kentville’s website.
“As a council, we are prepared to adopt a new expense policy based on the recommendations from the Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency (JMAT) committee,” said Kentville Mayor Sandra Snow.
“As a member of the JMAT committee, I am proud of the leadership demonstrated by the Kentville Council to support accountability and transparency in municipal politics. Additionally, we have approved and adopted a very comprehensive Code of Conduct policy, which will be signed by all councillors.”