It’s a chance to meet city reps face-to-face to air neighbourhood issues.
The fall Community Engagement Meetings kick off in Greendale on Tuesday evening.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz and council are heading into the rural areas to share key information, and hear feedback directly from citizens on a wide range of local topics.
The meetings grew out of sessions with the Rural Issues Advisory Committee, and turned into an annual event.
It’s actually “leading edge” in terms of local government practice, Gaetz said, to see a mayor and council visiting and engaging directly with citizens from almost every corner of the 100 square miles that make up Chilliwack.
During Chilliwack city council meetings, council members may only respond at the end of the night to public questions that pertain to items on that evening’s agenda.
But these engagement meetings are different in their approach.
“It will be an opportunity to meet council face-to-face outside city hall, to talk about what’s going on in their neighbourhood, or ask what kind of work we’ve been doing,” said Mayor Gaetz.
There will be information boards, and staff to answer questions.
Some residents who’ve attended have given the meetings rave reviews, and there were beefs and bouquets. The city added meeting dates in downtown Chilliwack and Sardis, as well to broaden the scope.
One of the meetings last year was sparsely attended, but others like the sessions in Greendale and Yarrow saw large crowds show up.
“It’s also a magnificent opportunity for interested residents to find out what we did with the concerns that were raised last year,” she said.
Some topics like roads and transportation, waste collection, or outdoor burning, are in the city’s purview, and city officials can speak to what they are doing, but other matters like the criminal justice system, health, or housing for homeless, as examples are not their jurisdiction.
On Oct. 10, council and staff will be at Greendale elementary. On Oct. 12, they’ll be at Rosedale elementary. On Oct. 25, it’s out to Yarrow, and the last one, on Oct. 26, they are in Ryder Lake. All community engagement meetings will run from 7-9 p.m. Attend in person to ask questions or offer feedback to council, or to ask questions in advance, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.