Comment 116597

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 22, 2016 at 10:58:36

Unfortunately, this article from seven years ago is still very relevant:

Our frustration with how citizen input is used is not surprising when we see that essentially all participation solicited by the City stays at the "tokenism" rungs on the Ladder of Citizen Participation: "Informing, Consultation and Placation". In this mode,

citizens may indeed hear and be heard. But under these conditions they lack the power to ensure that their views will be heeded by the powerful.

The problem is that in Hamilton, as in most other Canadian cities,

People are primarily perceived as statistical abstractions, and participation is measured by how many come to meetings, take brochures home, or answer a questionnaire. What citizens achieve in all this activity is that they have "participated in participation." And what powerholders achieve is the evidence that they have gone through the required motions of involving "those people."

Indeed, the provincial planning act requires cities to provide evidence that residents have been informed or consulted. Unfortunately, there is no requirement that the views and preferences of those who participated are actually heeded!

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