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City of Powell River launches online engagement platform provide tools for residents to have their say
Powell River City Hall
Powell River City Hall. Peak archive photo

City of Powell River launched its new public engagement platform, Participate Powell River, on Friday, November 1.

By means of multiple tools, including surveys, polls, forums, stories, questions, places and ideas, gives more people access to information and enables them to have their say in shaping projects, policies and initiatives, according to a City of Powell River media release.

“We’re committed to working more closely with the community to improve engagement, and better guide our planning and decision making,” stated economic development and communications director Scott Randolph. “Not everyone can attend council meetings or public hearing and information events and this new engagement tool can engage more people in discussions that shape the city.”

The online platform is a subscription service called EngagementHQ from Bang the Table and is used by municipal and senior level governments around the world.

In following the city’s communications policy of openness, transparency and accountability, ensures a consistent, coordinated, proactive and responsive approach with the public, and provides clear, accurate and objective information regarding the policies, bylaws, services, initiatives and procedures, according to the release.

“The site is different from social media platforms where comments and threads are often open to inaccurate information and even bullying,” stated Randolph, adding that it is important to note that 24/7 moderation is provided by a person, not an algorithm.

Strict etiquette and moderation rules keep participants, site administrators and third parties safe from malicious, inflammatory and illegal materials. Contributions and usernames that do not adhere to the moderation rules will be removed and the site has a privacy policy.

Participants can create a profile via a registration form; the only fields required to participate are a participant-defined username, password and email address. 

The first projects to go up on Participate Powell River include an update on construction of the new wastewater treatment facility; the regional child-care planning project; introduction of a new garbage collection program; a mapping project for new bike rack locations; and a photo contest.

The parks and trails master plan and Powell River Recreation Complex rehabilitation program will be added soon for public engagement.