New approach to communications

Communications‘Your local government organization, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District was established in 1967 and delivers commonly needed services, funded by taxation and fees, to our rural and municipal residents and provides a forum to advance regional issues. The TNRD provides both region-wide services, such as solid-waste management, recreation and library, as well as local services, such as fire departments, sewer and water, designed to benefit specific areas.’

It’s amazing how much time it can take a committee to agree on wording of a single paragraph when individual members are adding and subtracting ideas, but the above “elevator speech” summarizes quite well what the TNRD does.

It’s an addendum to a newly adopted Communications and Engagement Policy that puts in writing how the regional district will provide and receive information and ideas with the people it serves.
Several months ago, I proposed to the board that we develop such a plan and, during a strategic planning session, the idea was adopted as a priority. I’m proud to have chaired an ad hoc committee that brought it to reality within the six-month timeframe it was given.

The result is a policy that commits the TNRD to a transparent, courteous and respectful approach to interaction and communication with residents.

The policy, approved a few days ago by the board, lays out guidelines for a set of Inform-Consult-Involve-Collaborate-Empower pillars that recognize one shoe doesn’t fit all when it comes to communication and engagement. Each issue or project needs a different approach and a different set of tools.

One of the things I like about this new policy is its emphasis on encouraging ideas to come from the public rather than just communicating decisions that have already been made.

This presents challenges because no extra budget has been allotted, but by taking a targeted approach I believe we can do a much better job of telling people what we’re doing, and of getting input from taxpayers.

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