The Report Card assesses the City’s processes in three areas: Planning, Public Engagement and Transparency, and Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection. The Coalition gives the City a mark of ‘C-’ overall. Public Engagement and Transparency, as well as Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection, are the categories in which the City gets the lowest marks, ‘D-,’ although the City gets an ‘A’ for its Public Engagement initiatives. ‘C+’ is the mark awarded for Planning Process.
John Grenville and Karen Pagratis, vice-chairs of the Coalition who, among others, worked on the Report Card, agreed that the City is to be commended for its commitment to public engagement, a priority set out in City Council’s April 2015 Strategic Plan. However, the evaluation notes that ‘the City has not yet given widespread effect to the spirit and the specifics of this priority.’ In addition, to ensure an organizational culture that is ‘walking the walk,’ there needs to be an on-going process of evaluation with measures of success and accountability.
The Report Card concludes, ‘We hope that more will be done in 2018 to improve planning and open government processes and allow citizens to have meaningful opportunities to participate in their City’s decisions.’
Founded in November, 2015, the Coalition is an umbrella organisation of 18 community groups working to make the City of Kingston accountable and transparent. The Coalition released a 16-page report in January 2016 to City Council about its concerns with planning procedures. The Report Card follows up on those concerns.
The CKC Board agreed that the City’s upcoming ‘Town Hall’ on intensification is a good start for 2018, and many in the Coalition plan to come out to that event.
‘We are proud to call Kingston our home and appreciate the hard work of the Mayor, City Councillors, and staff, who are trying to do what they believe is best for the city. We offer this report card as a way to encourage improvements in the processes that are essential to making Kingston a strong and vibrant community,’ said Christine Sypnowich, CKC Chair.
Photo credit to Tim Forbes.