Midland politicians hope a new website and TV show encourage residents to become more engaged in community affairs.
Engaging Midland is a digital project that was launched last year by the municipality and encourages residents to interact more with staff and council, said Randy Fee, Communications and Marketing Coordinator for Midland.“What we’re hoping is that residents will make use of this site to know they are reaching people involved in a specific project,” he explained. “They can leave comments and enter surveys to weigh in on projects.”
A quick look at the website shows several projects around town, such as the King Street rejuvenation and Love Your Laneways, that are at different stages in the process.
“If you can’t make it to the public information sessions we hold around the projects, you can still review the information online and present your thoughts,” said Fee. “Even if you do go to one of the sessions, and don’t feel comfortable standing up in front of a hundred people, you can provide feedback online.”
In addition to increasing engagement with residents via the website, the town hopes to create a buzz by launching a new show by the same name on Rogers TV.
“With the TV show, we’re hoping to give (residents) more access to council by giving the opportunity to ask more questions about topics,” said Fee. “There will be a host, a member of council, with either a staff member or community representative. It will all be dictated by the subject of the show.”
What the show hopes to accomplish, he said, is to give residents a chance to ask questions.
A new show will air once a month on Channel 53, starting Tuesday, Feb. 25. The episode will then be archived and available online at engagingmidland.ca, said Fee, adding the website’s yearly maintenance cost is $12,000.
On the website, each project has a section titled “Who’s Listening”, which shows the names and contact information for those involved in the project, he said.
“In the Q&A section the residents can ask questions, and depending on the nature of the question, it can be answered in the forum or privately,” said Fee.
This website gives residents a chance to feel like they’re part of municipal projects, he added.
Further, residents can look forward to getting fully involved in the budget process, as consultation around it will open during the summer, said Fee.
“The data coming from the consultation process will be impactful,” he said, adding, “In the first six months, since the Town launched Engaging Midland, the response has been lukewarm, but encouraging.
"We’ve seen instances where certain projects have really engaged the community, and we’re looking forward to building upon that with new projects and engagement opportunities on Engaging Midland throughout 2020," he said.
Residents can visit engagingmidland.ca to register to give their feedback on projects.