Open government listening in Maple Ridge

Peeved at not being able to find the details or decisions on things that you think you should know about the City of Maple Ridge?

Worried about what actually goes on behind closed doors at city hall?

Peeved at not being able to find the details or decisions on things that you think you should know about the City of Maple Ridge?

If so, the citizens’ representative committee wants to hear from you.

Over two nights, May 21 and June 3 at city hall, the committee will hear your comments on two questions: Is there any information that’s currently available – easy to find and understand?

Secondly, is there any information that’s not public, which you think should be?

Once responses to those questions come in, either by e-mail or in person at the meeting (through a five-minute presentation that has to be booked in advance), the committee will pour over the replies and pass on their ideas to the mayor’s open government task force.

“We’ll look at all of it and then we’ll put together recommendations,” said committee chair Katherine Wagner.

The former school trustee and Facebook group moderator was chosen to lead the committee and help select the other 10 members.

Wagner said the intent was to create a group that would be at arm’s length from the mayor’s task force, which is composed of Mayor Nicole Read and Couns. Tyler Shymkiw and Corisa Bell.

Wagner said there’s been lots of interest in the committee; 33 people applied just to sit on the committee, which will disband this summer along with the task force, once recommendations have been implemented.

“So we have quite a cross section. So I think we’ll just have to see what kind of feedback we get.”

Members of the committee, including Wagner, are Ivan Chow, Matt Ellis, Harvey Gigun, Rasam Hafezi, Jean Hincks, Dennis Kinsey, Alex Miyahara, Graham Mowatt, Sean Orcutt and Rob Roy.

The task force has already requested that council workshop and committee meetings be livestreamed, a process that’s since been implemented.

Maple Ridge started livestreaming of its regular meetings a year ago, one of the last cities in Metro Vancouver to do so.

The task force, formed in January following the November election of Read, has also asked that details about contracts awarded by the city be made available to the public.

Wagner said the goal is have the recommendations ready for the task force by the end of June.

People who have ideas on how to reduce government secrecy and improve access, can e-mail their ideas to: opengovernment@mapleridge.ca.

If they want to speak at one of the evenings, they can book a five-minute time period by calling 604-467-7347.

Wagner said in a release that she’s hoping that 20 to 24 presentations can be made at each of the evenings that take place in the Blaney Room in Maple Ridge city hall at 7 p.m.

Wagner said the more submissions and ideas the better because then it’s possible to identify trends.

The evenings will be livestreamed so as many Maple Ridge taxpayers as possible can follow.

 

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