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Public Consultation

PlaceSpeak Users: Engaging, Connecting and Influencing


Here is the latest in a series of excerpts from an article in Plan Canada, a quarterly magazine published by the Canadian Institute of Planners.  The article was written by PlaceSpeak associate Maureen Mendoaza.

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PlaceSpeak Users: Engaging, Connecting and Influencing

Key to the value proposition for users is that their contributions are able to influence outcomes – to make the consultation connection to decision-makers real. This has been most exemplified in the consultation PlaceSpeak hosted for the City of New Westminster’s Master Transportation Plan that included the redevelopment of the city’s major transportation infrastructure, the Pattullo Bridge. Limiting users to the city’s boundaries by segmenting it into fourteen neighbourhoods, the city hosted a survey on PlaceSpeak to gain insight into residents’ sentiments around the bridge.

Over one thousand PlaceSpeak people viewed the consultation, and almost two hundred New Westminster residents connected to take the survey, giving the online survey a higher response rate than the in-person open house that had an attendance of about three hundred residents and only thirty survey responses. This demonstrated the ability of not only wider reach, but also greater participation. After the consultation, TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transit authority, agreed to work collaboratively with the City to explore alternative options for transit development.

These results were reported back to users on the platform. Consultations where citizens’ voices are taken into account reiterate that their opinions not only matter, they can affect decisions. Because the consultation developed an online database of users in the city, New Westminster has since used PlaceSpeak for budget consultations and residents were notified and asked to participate again.

Jerry Behl, a transportation engineer for the City of New Westminster and key contact for the consultations affirmed the necessity to provide multiple ways for citizens to connect and was “surprised by the sheer number of people who logged on and took a look, we covered a lot of bases this way. We gave the people the option of turning up at an open house in the afternoon, in the evening, or coming on to PlaceSpeak.”

You can read the entire article on Scribd.

For readers interested in learning more about the New Westminster Master Transportation Plan consultation, here is a short video overview:


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