Monday, April 19, 2010
Public input on burning issues
When in doubt, ask the public. That's not a half bad default position for city councils wrestling with vexing problems, but public consulation can be time-consuming and costly. So, faced with continuing controversy over off-leash areas and smoking in outdoor public spaces, Coquitlam Council decided tonight to ask the public for its opinion at the same time as it asks the public to select a new councillor (me, please!) on May 15.
Yes, that's correct. According to reports from tonight's council meeting, the public will be asked its opinion of the two issues in a non-binding survey. I'm given to understand that the questions will not be available for the advance polls, but will be on a ballot in time for the by-election itself.
The decision to ask for formal public input has a two-fold benefit: it will give council some more information upon which to base its decisions; and it will drive more people to the polls on May 15, an outcome that will surely result in a more representative outcome.
I'm looking forward to learning more in the days to come about the shape the questions will take.
Meantime, the Vancouver Parks Board has apparently already heard enough, and voted tonight to ban smoking on city beaches and in city parks.
Just one question: is this really a health issue, or is it simply the Nanny State flexing her muscles?
UPDATE: I've now learned that the survey questions will be asked during the advance polls on May 5, 8 and 12, as well as the regular by-election day of May 15. Good work, council!
Posted by Terry O'Neill at 9:47 PM