Values of public participation

Dear Editor:

The public participation processes used by the City could be greatly improved by subscribing to the core values used by the International Association for Public Participation.

Taking a close look at the core values and asking your own questions related to council’s decision making processes can only help make better, community oriented decisions which reflect the interests and concerns of affected and potentially affected people and entities.

The core values are:

1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.

2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.

3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.

4, Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.

6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

On this value, here is a list of questions that I’ve asked and which I still believe should be answered publicly:

• How much was the marina rented for before and what was provided compared to how much is the marina rented for now and what will be provided? What is the added benefit?

• Exactly how much additional land is needed for the expansion?  One letter to the editor puts it as high as 28 per cent compared to other reports at about 11 per cent

• Where are the drawings that show an overlay of the new development on what is existing and where will the structures that are being displaced be located?

• What is the market value of the additional land needed for the expansion?

• What is the replacement cost of the additional land needed for expansion?

• What is the market rent for the additional land needed for the expansion?

• How long will it take to acquire lands to replace the land needed for expansion based the rental fees?

• Where is the file for public viewing that contains letters/emails of support, suggestions for improvement as well as objections to the new use of the land?

7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised the Inspector of Municipalities and/or or the Auditor General for Local Government in British Columbia hasn’t stepped up to conduct an inquiry or audit the public participation processes this council is using to make decisions.

Wayne Llewellyn

Penticton