The City must meaningfully provide avenues for Calgarians to voice their concerns and see their input reflected in policy decisions.
To strengthen Calgary’s community consultation process, a Better Budget includes the following policy asks:
- Invest in community-based participatory research programs to ensure that gaps and barriers are well understood and addressed appropriately.
- Fund a full city-wide housing and land supply analysis, including vacant land and development capacity.
- Reinstate the Civic Census.
- Perform a city-wide audit of communities to identify gaps and barriers to creating complete communities.
- Invest and reform the Engage Calgary program to act as an advocacy group for the public.
- Prioritize funding proposals that have been developed in partnership with Calgarians experiencing vulnerabilities.
At any given point, The City must contend with demands coming from multiple stakeholders who often want completely different outcomes for their city. The 2022 Spring Pulse Survey found that only 47% of respondents trust The City, and 67% of respondents agree that The City practices open and transparent governance. The survey highlights that “citizen ratings of customer service have statistically declined from Fall 2021, with fewer Calgarians agreeing The City meets their service expectations, provides consistently high customer service, or responds quickly to requests and concerns.”
Providing Avenues for Input
The City must meaningfully provide avenues for Calgarians to voice their concerns and see their input reflected in policy decisions. Exercises like the bi-annual pulse surveys are extremely important, but only reach a small percentage of Calgarians. Reintroducing the Civic Census can ensure greater participation and awareness among community members. Investing in and reforming the Engage Calgary program will provide more meaningful opportunities for Calgarians to learn about and participate in City projects and initiatives.
New Research and Engagement Based Employment
While the data collection processes like the Civic Census, audits, and housing and land supply analysis can support The City in better understanding the communities they serve, it is crucial that a diverse group of Calgarians is empowered to make decisions. Introducing new research and engagement-based employment at a city level reinforces citizen engagement as a priority for The City.
Building Community Solidarity
Given the vast number of policies The City is responsible for designing, they must embed avenues for residents who live these policies to provide their perspective. Ensuring that residents feel heard and valued by their representatives is an important step towards building solidarity at a community level and breaking down the perception that everyone is solely responsible for themselves and their well-being. In addition, engaging citizens in problem-solving allows them to better understand the constraints faced by The City and the concerns expressed by other residents.
These policy asks are based on input that came directly from over 5,000 Calgarians from every corner of the city through our Better Budget Survey and Community Consultations last spring. Vivic Research and Nick Falvo Consulting helped us compile your responses into a report that includes these and other recommendations.