Community engagement being used to spur economic prosperity
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
The city is hoping to further engage London residents by asking for their help in focusing ideas around economic prosperity.
During the Investment and Economic Prosperity Committee meeting on Tuesday (May 8), staff presented councillors with a detailed report around the city’s official prosperity plans. As the name Our Prosperity Plan 2013-2023 suggests, civic administration has put together a plan that speaks to the city’s economic goals for the next 10 years. City treasurer Martin Hayward, city planner John Fleming and London Economic Development Corporation president and CEO Peter White presented the plan.
The plan laid out where the city is today, how it can more fully engage residents and what the next steps are in developing the prosperity plan.
While the piece around today provided Hayward, Fleming and White the opportunity to discuss where the city is today and what options are around creating prosperity, a perhaps more important component would follow. Elaine Gamble, director of corporate communications, unveiled the city’s new online engagement tool, www.prosperityforlondon.ca, as a way of allowing residents to share their ideas on how to help improve the city’s fortunes. June 1 is the deadline for idea submissions ahead of a public meeting set for later in the month.
“There will be lots of opportunities to go out, over the next few months, and tell people about what we are doing,” said Gamble, who added there are a wide variety of tools available to councillors trying to engage the public. Those tools include a PowerPoint presentation, the website and an email address (email@example.com) even a flyer handout.
“Our hope is that people will send us not only the big ticket capital items that we were talking about, but also some of the smaller ideas, so we are servicing some of the low-cost or no-cost ideas that are out there.”
For Fleming, the presentation given to the committee outlines a framework for a greater public discussion around economic prosperity. Fleming said he expects the recently launched ReThink London initiative, along with the city’s Official Plan, will serve as a way to bind together all the community initiatives currently underway.
In addition, the framework Fleming talked about will help guide council in its discussions.
“It will allow them to stay balanced so they are considering everything from capital projects to incentives to strategies and service improvements,” Fleming said. “There is quite a bit going on. So I think the ReThink London framework really helps knit together all the plans that are going on.”
Prosperity committee chair and Ward 3 Councillor Joe Swan said the framework presented to the committee shows “the complexity of what makes a healthy, vibrant community,” while also pointing out just how much work still needs to happen.
Swan said the committee is focused on finding new ways to create jobs in the city and so he hopes having structure to the debate will make sure the conversation stays focused.
Perhaps most importantly, Swan said he is looking forward to the input the community will bring forward this summer.
“We are hopeful they actually provide us ideas and suggestions on how to create new work for people in London,” Swan said. “Anything that comes to mind that creates another job for London. We are interested; we want to know how we can help.”
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