Practical Lessons: how online engagement can strengthen your community planning process


Planning-col lores

Webinar Summary

00:00:00 Quick introduction by Andrea De Ascó

00:01:33 Introductions By John Richardson, Ethelo's CEO and founder. He introduces our Special guests: Joan Botkin and Andrea Reimer 

  • What we'll cover: community engagement and also current challenges that local governments are facing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

00:03:58 Okotoks is a community engagement leader. What piece of advice would you give to people that are new to the community engagement space and thinking about doing digital engagements? 

  • Find innovative ways to increase engagement
  • Create a community of online conversation rather than having just a survey

00:07:04 What are the challenges that you see for municipal leaders that are trying to do digital engagement?

00:08:21  Okotoks has done a number of engagement projects on Ethelo. This includes three planning processes, a budgeting process, a social wellness survey, and there are many other processes in the pipeline.

  • I know that you have looked at different technologies, could you share some of your thinking and frame of analysis for the governments that are considering going digital and what are the considerations that they should take into account when choosing a platform?

00:12:55 Working with consultants 

00:13:44 Internal buy-in: what are some of the challenges that you've seen while moving into the digital space? - for many of these consultations there's a number of internal stakeholders that need to be engaged as well.

00:20:02 Let's talk about a couple of projects that you've done, Joan. A big one was the municipal development plan. Can you give us a bit of context about this project? 

00:29:00 How did these results feed into your planning process in a transparent manner

00:31:17 Overtime, how do you develop  a community of users that is literate with the tools so it gets better as it goes? do you offer some training opportunities?

  • How did you get such complex information into these digestible chunks? did people perceive it as digestible?

00:36:00 is this more or less work than the traditional open house or does it provide opportunities or challenges that didn't exist with the open house formats? 

00:36:52 How did your elected officials deal with moving to online engagement?

00:38:45 Let's talk about the current context. Traditional types of engagement are not so easy right now. Many municipalities are thinking of how to make a shift. What are the main challenges? How are things shifting and where do you see them going?

00:43:16 I've heard that there were a few mentions about challenges around public hearings - how can we do this online? What do you see possibly emerging as new approaches?

00:49:13 How do you deal with Rural / remote communities with limited broadband connectivity? some areas can not download or stream information

00:53:57 Next week's webinar will be about what does democracy look like in an age of social distancing: the collective decision-making functions of a democracy we'll have a panel of experts joining us to bring their insights to this conversation. You can pre-subscribe by filling out the form below.

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