May 27th, 2024

Municipal Mingle draws drought-focused crowd

By BRENDAN MILLER on May 16, 2024.

Violet Pergel and Wendy Scott look over a city zoning map during a 'Municipal Mingle' public engagement event at Towne Square on Wednesday--NEWS PHOTO BRENDAN MILLER

Representatives from several city departments gathered at Towne Square on Wednesday to answer questions from residents and provide information on upcoming budget plans, capital projects and construction updates.

Booths and informational displays were set up as representatives from 12 city departments were on hand during the city’s third ‘Municipal Mingle’ public engagement event this year.

“Trying to get everybody together to give more information about capital projects, construction that’s going on, the budget and the different plans that we’re developing,” said city manager Ann Mitchell. “And it’s a good opportunity for people to come downtown to use this space.”

Several representatives from finance, the airport, parks and recreation, municipal works and economic development attended the three-hour engagement event that ran from 4-7 p.m.

“We also have the executive team wandering around talking to people about local government,” says Mitchell. “To make sure that people understand the different roles and the various levels of local government.”

Representatives from the environmental utilities shared water conservation information and were able to provide the first 30 residents with a free rain barrel in efforts to conserve water use by 10 per cent this summer.

Officials say they are encouraged by the community’s interest to help in meeting conservation goals for the drought.

“We’ve heard a lot from residents with concerns since last year,” says Jamie Garland, director of environmental utilities. “They see the low river levels and upstream they see low reservoirs and communities that didn’t have water last summer.

“So everybody has these concerns and it’s nice to see that everyone is coming out and trying to do their part.”

The 30 free rain barrels did not last long however, as the News spoke with a resident who attended the event hoping to receive one she could use to water her garden.

“I want my plants to grow and I want my grass to be green,” says Violet Pergel. “But I also want to do my participation (in conserving water)”

Rain barrels have been reportedly difficult to find at local retailers this season. In an effort to provide more to residents the city is currently running a raffle to give away 50 more.

Residents are encouraged to enter the draw by entering their information at a booth set up in front of customer services at city hall throughout the week.

Representatives from community development provided information on their community wellbeing plan as well as several arts, heritage and entertainment events the city has planned.

Members of the Fire and emergency services were also on hand to provide public education, as were police officers of the downtown patrol unit.

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