Toronto’s City Planning division working to improve public engagement in the planning process
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The City of Toronto’s City Planning division has launched a new initiative called Growing Conversations. This initiative seeks to improve the relationship between the City of Toronto and its residents and stakeholders through a better community engagement process.
Growing Conversations will be launched officially on Tuesday, June 24 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd. (in the Yonge Street/Eglinton Avenue area). All members of the public are welcome to attend this drop-in event.
“Engaging our residents in conversations about city building builds a stronger city,” said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. “We’ve seen some really successful examples of that happening here in Toronto, and certainly there are lessons to be learned from elsewhere. What Growing Conversations will do is help us to apply those best practices to all of our engagement efforts, which will ultimately lead to better planning outcomes.”
“The vision of Growing Conversations is to make Toronto the most engaged city in North America,” said Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat. “My hope is that improving the quality of our conversations will result in planning outcomes that better reflect the vision and values of residents and the communities in which they live.”
The launch event on June 24 will be the public’s official introduction to the Growing Conversations process, offering attendees an opportunity to become acquainted with its objectives, timeline and features. A short information session will be held at 7 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. A series of interactive display panels will help staff collect input on a variety of questions.
There are five key objectives for Growing Conversations:
• Provide a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current community planning process in Toronto.
• Explore new engagement models and tools, particularly those that are intended to help build capacity, inform participation, and build stronger relationships between the community, stakeholders and the City of Toronto.
• Explore opportunities and best practices related to implementing community planning advisory groups in Toronto.
• Explore opportunities to broaden participation by engaging new audiences, including youth, newcomers and low-income residents.
• Identify other opportunities to improve the quality of feedback received through the community planning process.
Growing Conversations will include four key elements: a youth engagement strategy targeting youth ages 18 to 30; an ethnic media strategy targeting the top five fastest-growing language groups in the city; a key stakeholders partnership strategy to build stronger relationships between City Planning and key stakeholders who will help to broaden the City’s engagement reach; and an open data framework to establish clear guidelines for the release of City Planning’s data.
Those four elements will together lead to a new engagement action plan, which is expected to be completed a year from now.
More information, including more opportunities to participate online, is available at http://www.toronto.ca/growingconversations.
This news release is also available on the City’s website: http://bitly.com/1kYgYuh
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