As the City embarked on a process to lay the foundation for a long-term strategic plan they needed a process to consult with local citizens on issues like growth management, transit and transportation, the environment, public safety, diversity and municipal services.
With declining attendance, Delvinia learned that traditional town halls are no longer a viable solution for public consultation. Time-pressed citizens want to engage, but need mechanisms that permit them to do so at their convenience.
To engage the public and gather feedback on Markham’s strategic direction, Delvinia developed an innovative online public consultation process branded Click with Markham.
Delvinia-designed a website platform with a video introduction by the Mayor and video segments describing each strategic area. Visitors to the site could answer a series of questions through an interactive survey about proposed plans for each of the priorities; thereby making them part of the democratic decision-making process. The online survey was available in eight languages and the questionnaire was also available in a printed form.
In addition, a comprehensive advertising and promotion program was created to support the program. Including direct mail to all Markham households with a rewards program to encouraged residents and those who work in Markham businesses to participate.
During the three-week campaign, more than 5,000 people visited clickwithmarkham.ca and more than 3,600 individuals filled out the online survey.
The response surpassed the results of any other public consultation program held in Markham or within York Region. And, according to the Town, the feedback confirmed the municipality was moving in the right direction with its action plans. At the time, Click with Markham was the largest interactive municipal survey to be done in Ontario.
The City of Markham received the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators Willis Innovation Award in recognition of the Click with Markham program. The national award is given annually for programs, projects or services that demonstrate exceptional innovation or meritorious initiative.