TOWN OF MINTO — The Town of Minto is hoping an online software system will increase community engagement on a number of issues within the town.
At council's Dec. 18 meeting, business and economic manager Belinda Wick-Graham spoke to council about Engage Minto, a new website that allows residents to give their feedback on current projects within the town.
The platform also allows the town to communicate directly with residents about the status of projects and initiatives, or to share information and stories.
The website — engageminto.ca — launched on Dec. 19 with three projects for residents to give their feedback on: cannabis retail stores in Minto, how the town should celebrate the completion of the Clifford Elora Street project and staff shout-outs, where residents can comment on good things town staff are doing in the community.
The website requires residents to register a free account by giving their real name, the community they live in and select their age range from a number of demographics.
Wick-Graham explained that the platform is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by provider Bang the Table. Bang the Table moderates the comments to make sure that they comply with the platform's policies and to eliminate comments with offensive or hateful language. The respondent will receive an email from Bang the Table explaining why it was removed.
"That takes it out of our hands so people can't say, 'they didn't like what we said, so they removed it,' " Wick-Graham told council.
Wick-Graham said that the purpose of Engage Minto is to enhance community engagement, not replace traditional forms of engagement such as public meetings.
"This is not to take away from public, in-person meetings," she told council. "We will still continue to do those. This just allows us another opportunity to get feedback from the community."
Wick-Graham said that there is a lot of potential for Engage Minto to be a useful tool for the town in gathering feedback from residents. She cited upcoming town projects like the 2019 budget and the recreation master plan as projects that could benefit from this.
"There's so many things we can use to engage people on," she said. "We (staff) think this is a good investment."
The platform will cost the town $7,500 in 2019, and will be funded by the economic development, recreation and administration departments as staff believe they will be the ones to benefit the most from Engage Minto.
"It's a way for us to engage the community in initiatives we are working on," said Wick-Graham. "As we know, a lot of people don't come out to public meetings. We have a budget meeting and no one or one person shows up. A lot of people are busy, especially our younger demographic, and this is one way we feel we can reach out to these people and get their feedback on things."
To register for an account, visit engageminto.ca
Article by Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson is the Editor, Northwest Group for the Arthur Enterprise News, Independent Plus, Listowel Banner, Minto Express, Mount Forest Confederate and Wingham Advance Times.