What is the Regional Connections interactive portal?
The Regional District of Okangan-Similkameen (RDOS)’s Regional Connections is a web-based tool designed to be an interactive portal between the RDOS and its citizens, to make public engagement easier, more inclusive and more representative of public opinion. This online tool will be used to host information, feedback and discussions.
Key components of the engagement site include resources such as videos, presentations, reports, FAQs, infographics and interactive features such as polls, questions and answers as well as discussion forums.
Anyone looking to participate in the public engagement site must register first. The site has a purpose built moderation system that balances the need to protect the integrity of the engagement program while giving community members a real opportunity to have their say about the issues that matter to them. Automatic filters prevent bad language and spam. Third-party moderators read every single comment to keep conversations on track, safe, secure and fair.
Why did the RDOS decide to launch this online tool?
The RDOS is committed to increasing opportunities for meaningful dialogue with residents. When we take the time to invite the insights, ideas and aspirations of our citizens, we ensure that the outcomes of our decisions reflect the vision, values, and needs of the whole community. Online technology offers increasingly effective and user-friendly options for public engagement. In addition to face-to-face public meetings, the RDOS is now providing innovative and more flexible options for residents to share their thoughts on initiatives that impact our community. Consistent with the RDOS’s public engagement guide and building upon the regional district’s social media presence, through channels such as Twitter and Facebook, this engagement tool takes online interaction to an important new level.
The RDOS Regional Connections community engagement site is intended to increase citizen awareness and engagement on specific regional district projects/initiatives by providing:
- background and history of the project
- clarity as to the purpose of the public engagement (e.g. for comment, input, feedback, etc.)
- details regarding potential impacts the project may have on residents, and what has been suggested to try and address these impacts
- information about the options for residents to express their thoughts/opinions/ concerns regarding the project
- explanation as to how the residents’ feedback gathered through this engagement process will inform decisions made by the municipality
How does the online contribution by residents impact decisions by the Board of Directors at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen?
Through public engagement, we can:
- allow community members and decision-makers to hear a variety of perspectives
- manage differences, establish direction for moving forward on complex issues, and build understanding regarding trade-offs
- foster confidence and trust in local government
- build better neighbourhoods and strong communities through common understanding and shared aspirations
- correct misinformation, and address hidden obstacles or unknown consequences early in the process.
Feedback provided via the Regional Connections community engagement site will generally be presented to the RDOS Board of Directors as part of a staff report. Board Directors can follow or participate directly in the online engagement portal along with other residents.
Should users be concerned about privacy or the security of information shared online?
The online engagement hub is a secure site and adheres to the RDOS’s Privacy Statement and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and/or other applicable legislation.