Ward 1 councilors Maurice Brenner and Lisa Robinson hosted their third town hall March 16 and it may have been the best one yet.
Kudos to the councilors for holding their town halls in changing locations to give more citizens opportunity of attending. Alas, the spirit of the citizenry is problematical as the turnout was low, about 50 attendees.
Friendly but business like
The Abbey Lawn Retirement home lounge was conducive to being a friendly and relaxed environment. From the outset, Brenner and Robinson maintained that atmosphere to the appreciative comfort of all the participants.
Gnome of Information
Councillor Brenner, a “gnome of information,” fielded the majority of questions with a deft political hand. He had boundless information and amazing recall of it.
The might consider parking him on a digital town hall for citizens to phone in questions. Councillor Brenner would be up to the task.
His responses were always loaded with details and recalled facts making them constructive and informative.
Councillor Robinson is the councilor that poses limitless questions to the other councilors and to any sources from which she can learn. She is sincere in her quest for information and as she states, “I make my decisions on an informed basis.”
She may be the councilor of questions but she is also the councilor with informed comments and responses. She does her homework before she makes a statement.
Very successful Town Hall
Many of the town halls have been informative and valuable for the attendees, but this one seemed to cover all the basis. Relaxed atmosphere, an open floor to all participants, comfortable and casual but still very constructive and very informative.
Topics of concern were wide ranging:
- The city’s concern with the meaning “Affordable”
- Excessively large homes with extensive paving on their frontage
- Bylaw restrictions and applications on property renovation for rentals
- concern about environment with the upcoming Tree Preservation policy
- Privacy concerns with delegations and their home addresses
- Nuclear emergency plan updating
The councilors acknowledge that the city needs to continue its improvement and effectiveness of information dissemination to the city residents. The council presents video summaries of its meetings on YouTube. The problem remains that the number of residents accessing the information is small, much like voter turnout in elections. Brenner commented on the City efforts to refine its publications to make them more effective. His conclusion seemed to waft away in the air of political vagary.
This town hall was excellent in every way.
Tentatively, the next town hall is scheduled for Apr. 20 at the George Ashe Community Centre. Stay tuned here for confirmation.