What is the ShapeSouthgate community engagement hub?
The ShapeSouthgate community engagement hub is a web-based tool designed to make public engagement easier, more inclusive and more representative of public opinion. This online tool will be used to host information, feedback and discussions.
The Township of Soutghate secured the services of a third-party software provider, BangtheTable, to develop and deliver an online engagement hub tailored to meet the specific needs of the Township of Southgate. BangtheTable provides ongoing technology support as well as 24/7 moderation of the online discussions.
Key components of the engagement site include resources such as videos, presentations, reports, FAQs, infographics and interactive features such as polls, questions and answers as well as discussion forums.
Anyone looking to access and participate in the engagement hub must register first. The site has a purpose builtin that balances the need to protect the integrity of the engagement program while giving community members a real opportunity to have their say about the issues that matter to them. Automatic filters prevent bad language and spam. Third-party moderators read every single comment to keep conversations on track, safe, secure and fair.
Why did the Township of Southgate decide to launch this online tool?
The Township of Southgate is committed to increasing opportunities for meaningful dialogue with residents. Online technology offers increasingly effective and user-friendly options for public engagement. In addition to face-to-face public meetings, the Township is now providing innovative and more flexible options for residents to share their thoughts on initiatives that impact our community. We are building upon the municipality’s social media presence, through channels such as Instagram and Facebook, this engagement tool takes online interaction to an important new level.
The ShapeSouthgate community engagement hub is intended to increase citizen awareness and engagement on specific Town projects/initiatives by providing:
- background and history of the project
- clarity as to the purpose of the public engagement (e.g. for comment, input, feedback, etc.)
- details regarding potential impacts the project may have on residents, and what has been suggested to try and address these impacts
- information about the options for residents to express their thoughts/opinions/ concerns regarding the project
- explanation as to how the residents’ feedback gathered through this engagement process will inform decisions made by the municipality
How does the online contribution by residents impact decisions by the Township of Southgate?
Feedback provided via the Township of Southgate community engagement hub is generally presented to the Township Council as part of a staff report.
Members of Township Council can follow or participate directly in the online engagement hub along with other residents.
Should users be concerned about privacy or the security of information shared online?
The online engagement hub is a secure site and adheres to the Municipal Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act provisions. All users are registered. We think that one of the best ways of promoting good online community behaviour is to provide people with an identity that can be consistently recognized by the community, which is especially important for a site that promotes interactivity and engagement between users.