“We need a public engagement tool that is a safe and respectful place that will both encourage public engagement and answer questions that folks may have about various projects,” says Mayor Pam Mood. The name of the website is getinvolvedyarmouth.ca.
“We will be putting strategic projects on the website. Right now we have the arts and culture centre and the waterfront project. We want to hear from the public,” Mood says. “It’s council’s intention that the input will help inform our decision making.”
Some people may feel that social media gives the town a good representation for how the public is feeling on an issue, but Mayor Mood says not everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions on social media for fear of being attacked by others.
This website will allow people on all sides to share their views and opinions. It will also provide ongoing, updated information about projects.
In the case of the arts centre project, the website includes information about the project, including work by the architectural firm MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Ltd., which has attended stakeholder sessions that have been held. There is also a survey people are invited to take. People can also register to receive updates from the town about the project.
A public meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, where a presentation on an art and culture centre will take place. The town of Yarmouth has identified the Collins Street parking lot as the site for a centre. During the meeting, being held at 6:30 p.m. at the Rodd Grand Hotel, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects will be on hand to introduce the vision concept of the centre.
“The purpose of the meeting is to bring the community together to hear from Brian MacKay-Lyons and his team as to the process thus far, and what it will look like going forward,” says Mood, who says there will be time for questions from the public.
The town’s new engagement website also includes information about the Yarmouth Waterfront Development Action Plan, which has public symposiums happening Oct. 11 and 18.
The first session happening Wednesday evening – to which stakeholders and members of the public are invited to attend – will provide an overview of the project purpose and goal; findings to date; and consider questions about the waterfront, including a waterfront vision. The session is being held at the Mariners Centre Community Room starting at 6:30 p.m.
“We are providing information every step of the way,” Mayor Mood says about the engagement website. “The idea is it’s a safe and respectful place that you can ask your questions. Depending on how much time it takes to get the answer, some answers are readily available, some we may have to dig a little bit more for. But the information will be provided.”
Participation on the website does require registration. This is to help the town gather demographic and geographical information.
“In turn this information has the capacity to drive programming and funding, for example,” says Mood, who adds you don’t have to be a town resident to participate in, and benefit from, this engagement website.
“These projects are important to the entire region,” she says.