Low turnout for Penticton's infrastructure deficit engagement sessions - InfoNews

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Low turnout for Penticton's infrastructure deficit engagement sessions

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December 20, 2016 - 10:30 AM

PENTICTON - The City of Penticton’s efforts to engage the public to find answers to its infrastructure deficit appear to be eliciting little interest, if participant numbers are indicative.

A total of 123 people responded to five sessions of the city's Infrastructure Challenge: Funding for the Future consultation, which were held between Nov. 21 and Dec. 6 at various locations in the city, at various times during the day.

The City of Penticton is faced with a $175 million infrastructure deficit because not enough attention has been paid to upgrading and replacement in the city.

Between Nov. 24 and Dec. 9, 16 residents responded to an online survey, while 12 more completed a paper-based survey, making for a total of 151 citizens directly consulted in Phase Two.

Another 550 visited the city’s infrastructure challenge consultation website page since Nov. 1.

Community engagement consultant JoAnne Kleb will deliver phase two of her report of the engagement process to Penticton city council at a Committee of the Whole meeting slated for Tuesday, Dec. 20 in Penticton council chambers.

“While participation may be low in numbers, the values of all sessions is significant,” Kleb notes in her report to council.

Kleb reports five in-person engagements sessions were hosted in Phase Two, in addition to citizens having the opportunity to view all the materials and provide feedback online.

Kleb says the second phase of engagement involved more detail regarding nine options currently being explored to deal with the infrastructure deficit. The details included input by citizens who involved themselves in the first phase.

In addition to 110 new ideas gleaned from the first phase, additional ideas coming from the citizenry during the second phase included such things as charging a pavement tax, exploring joint ownership of the airport, exploring pubic-private partnerships and introducing new bylaws to charge more money to property owners benefitting from infrastructure improvements.

Kleb says going forward, engagement activities will be more focused on supporting activities resulting from this work as well as other city projects.

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