I want people to feel like they can always communicate with me. Counciltalk (formerly Aldertalk) is a powerful tool in my strategy for ensuring that they can. It has become quite popular since its inception, even gaining the attention of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s news publication “The Press” in their article on Counciltalk
In the past, there have been three ways for citizens to meet in person with a City Councillor:
- Open Houses are gatherings held annually and are often better attended by City employees than by the citizens they were intended for. There is a lot to see at Open Houses, but open discussion, especially with the Councillor in attendance, is limited. There is also an enormous taxpayer cost to holding one.
- Face-to-face meetings are a more personal way of connecting with your Councillor, and when possible, I oblige. Busy schedules and long travel distances can make this very difficult for all parties involved.
- Town Hall Meetings are open to everyone, but they are held randomly and infrequently. Discussion is always focussed on a set topic, and often residents don’t feel that their concerns are being addressed.
Counciltalk is my low-cost solution to these less than ideal methods. It is held about seven months out of the year, and rotates location between communities in Ward 14. People only have to go as far as their local community hall on a Saturday afternoon to speak with me, but have been known to travel much further to get chance to chat. Residents who attend are ensured a chance to speak to me personally about whatever concerns them. We sit in a round-table configuration and go through each attendee individually to hold discussion on the topic of their choice.
On January 14th, 2012 a group of Ward 14 Residents gathered at Parkland Community Hall to engage in thoughtful discussion. It was my first attempt at this new way to engage with Ward 14 residents. Since then residents of Ward 14 have been joining me regularly to engage in meaningful dialogue. The concept has even been imitated by other Councillors!
If you have any questions, concerns, or even ideas regarding the City of Calgary, please join me at an upcoming Counciltalk.
Check back here for details on upcoming Counciltalk sessions, or sign up for email updates here.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.