CVRD receives provincial recognition for PlaceSpeak

A screenshot shows all the PlaceSpeak topics of conversation under way in the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Conversations have touched on everything from affordable housing in North Cowichan to backyard hens in Ladysmith, and now the Cowichan Valley Regional District has received an award for its popularized online engagment tool.

The CVRD and its member municipalities launched the online community engagement platform last January as a new way to hear from residents on local government projects and initatives.

“We recognized our residents are interested in issues across the region, not just specific to the community in which they live,” said CVRD chair Jon Lefebure.

“Taking a coordinated approach to online engagement has not only allowed one point of contact for residents, but also helped open the doors for other joint initiatives between staff at the local governments in the region. We have seen the positive impact made by working together on projects of shared interests.”

At the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference, the region received a Community Excellence Award as provincial recognition online tool that provides a consistent approach to community engagement.

The award was presented for the category Best Practices, Organizational Development & Improvements, which recognizes the internal operations of local government where staff-led initiatives have improved practices and results while meeting or exceeding deliverables.

“The selection of PlaceSpeak and commitment of staff to use the platform to reach out to residents has helped local governments hear from residents who typically do not attend open houses,” said Lefebure.

“By hearing from more voices, staff and elected officials are able to take into account a variety of opinions when making decisions. This helps ensure the decision reflects the wider interest of the community and residents have a consistent forum to have their voice heard.”