Thursday, June 8, 2017

Random reflections on progress

Courtesy of the City of Quesnel:

Last week the City launched its new website; a long overdue investment in the future of our community! This major project was funded in part by the Northern Development Trust, and a big thank you goes to our Economic Development Officer and Communications Clerk for the blood, sweat, and tears they put into this major undertaking. The final outcome is fantastic!

In today’s world, a community’s web presence is paramount for: attracting visitors; enticing people to consider residing here; recruiting the entire range of the workforce we need to keep our base economy going (labourers, technicians, professionals), as well as the workers needed to grow and diversify our economy; and, for attracting investment. Quesnel’s website was outdated, virtually unsearchable, and awkward to use on mobile devices, which is now the main way people access the internet.

Our new website integrates our new branding, is mobile friendly, and enables a greater degree of consultation with the public and direct notification to individual citizens based on their interests. Please visit the website at and sign up for the notifications you want. The new site also offers a first for local government in BC: a tool to determine whether you need to apply for a building permit based on answering some online questions about the project you want to undertake.

Last week, I spent some time in Victoria, Esquimalt, and Saanich. It was a mix of business and pleasure and a good chance to see what was happening in these (and other) communities. Interestingly, each of these municipalities is investing in their community amenities: playgrounds, bike lanes, sports complexes, and core infrastructure. In all three communities, the various Council’s are beset by people who are either defending the status quo or who claim change isn’t happening fast enough. As I’ve stated a number of times before, it’s getting harder and harder for elected Councils to find the “balance” between opposing interests. Ultimately, City Council’s have to make their decisions based on the best available information and in the best interests of both the present and future generations of citizens in our respective communities.

I also noted that all the new playgrounds in these communities used engineered wood chips for their base; so we’re not unique in this regard. In Saanich, every bus stop has been equipped with various forms of lawn chairs in lieu of bus shelters (which has been a bone of contention for some here). And, in every community new housing and development ventures (like the new marina in the inner harbour in Victoria) are met with protests and resistance by those who want their community to remain the same (while also wanting jobs and economic development to occur, but just not in their neighbourhood).

Sometimes we think that what’s happening here in Quesnel is unique to us; it isn’t. Change is hard no matter where you live, and I understand that. But, progress is essential no matter where you live too. For Quesnel, the pace of change may simply be a bit more rapid, because we have so much catching up to do.

The best way want to engage in shaping our community is to stay abreast of what’s happening and actively participate in the dialogue, and our new website is designed to facilitate that. Please visit our web page often and like the City’s Facebook page. Better yet, sign up for notifications and stay informed about all the great things happening in Quesnel.

Bob Simpson is the Mayor of Quesnel. He can be reached via email here or via phone at 250-991-7477 or click here

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