Social media playing part in connecting residents with City of Kelowna

City Hall is increasing the ways local residents can find out what's going on.

Kelowna City Hall wants residents to explore new ways to get involved in municipal affairs during this year’s Local Government Awareness Week, May 19 to 25.

“Our residents are especially interested in their local government and being part of the decision-making process,” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. “This week, we’re joining with municipalities across the province to encourage residents to continue to have their voices heard.”

To encourage informed participation, the city has a public engagement RSS news feed accessible from kelowna.ca/getinvolved. Also, during planning processes, the city seeks input on upcoming parks, transportation, utility and community projects through open houses, workshops, surveys, online tools and social media.

“My council and I are proud of the innovation exhibited by city staff in finding new ways to engage with the public,” said Gray. “A great example is how staff have received information about the future of City Park—an online tool provides an interactive environment for residents and city staff to explore ideas for the future improvements of the park. City Park plans will evolve as a result of public input.”

Anyone witha computer or smartphone can go kelowna.ca/mycitypark to review the concept plan and ideas that have been submitted (the submission deadline was April 26) and the responses from city staff.

This online engagement pilot tested the readiness of Kelowna residents to participate online in future city-led initiatives. An online forum associated with the pilot project has already shown early promise says the city, with nearly 2,500 visitors, 179 ideas and 241 comments.

City offcials say online engagement platforms reduce barriers for residents who want the flexibility to be involved.

Another way residents are getting information is the old-fashioned way—through the mail.

Residents will receive the annual City Views publication with their tax notices in the mail next week. The newsletter provides information on taxation and keeps residents up-to-date on city projects, including the changing face of Kelowna’s downtown and waterfront, and opportunities for active transportation.

Residents can also stay informed by monitoring the city’s website, kelowna.ca, signing up for email updates through its e-Subscribe service or by joining the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Kelowna city council meeting agendas, minutes and highlights are posted on kelowna.ca, and the audio of the weekly Monday afternoon council meetings is broadcast live on Castanet.net and there are video recordings of the meeting broadcast on television at a later date on Shaw Cable.