So everyone has a chance to say how they feel about any item on that meeting's agenda before Council debates and decides. And we still have question period at the end. Our meetings are streamed lived on our website and also archived.
A Communications Committee has been formed and is working on a communications strategy that will help things flow more positively in the future.
We've taken a second look at a few decisions along the way....the siting of the library in Chemainus and the road at Stony Hill both come readily to mind.
I was recently on a workshop with folks from around the province, and a straw poll indicated that not one person had ever heard of North Cowichan. Cowichan valley, yes. Duncan, yes. Well you get the drift....
So I'm happy that Council recently approved a new 'logo', part of a branding process to put us on people's mental map.
And......drum roll......today is the 'soft launch' of the brand new North Cowichan Website.
I've just had a poke around it and I confess, I think it's beautiful -- its more intuitive and has better navigation and search tools than our old site -- so you should easily be able to find what you are looking for. Research shows that websites become more useful tools and more trusted sources of information when the content is timely, relevant and easily searchable.
Apparently 22 % of users access our site from mobile devices, so the new site is mobile friendly. It even includes an optional large text, high contrast view for those of us who don't have 20/20 vision anymore.
And the main purpose in my mind is for staff and Council to be able to get information out faster. So follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you haven't already, sign up under "Notifications" to get Council Matters (written after each Council meeting), traffic alerts, employment opportunities, updates on the Climate Action and Energy Plan as well as Planning and Development Updates -- there you can learn about the collaboration with the City of Duncan on a Local Area Plan for the area around VIU and James Street Beverly Street. You can assist in the future development of the area. We want the input of residents, visitors, business owners, landowners and other stakeholders to help establish a vision, goals and objectives for that area for the next 30 years.
Staff will be at the Duncan Farmer's Market this Saturday, August 24 and Saturday September 7, to answer any questions and listen to your comments on the plan.
You can also make comments and follow the ongoing discussions on the Planning and Development page or visit PlaceSpeak, an online community consultation platform.
Crofton is also working on a Local Area Plan and Council is going to be looking at zoning by-laws throughout the municipality over the next year. All of these issues will involve consultation with the public.
The times indeed are a changing. Hope you take advantage of the chance to have your say. It takes us all to make a community. And that's what we are in North Cowichan, a community of communities. Enjoy these last weeks of summer in what is arguably one of the most beautiful places to live anywhere.