Red Deerian’s welcome to take part in Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk 2012 is part of an ongoing effort to open the communication lines between City officials and residents.

Red Deerians are welcome to join the mayor, councillors and heads of many City departments to ask questions and make suggestions at the event which will take place on April 21st.

“This all started when City officials were looking for an opportunity for the mayor and councillors to get out and talk to the community,” said Event Coordinator Charlaine Rausch.

Rausch said it started out small in 1998 with just the mayor and council members at the mall talking to the public and has grown to this year’s showing of 31 departments, committees and groups.

“Our purpose is to go out into the community because people aren’t always comfortable coming into City Hall but they just want access to the councillors, mayor or departments,” said Rausch.

Members of the public from Central Alberta who do business, attend school, or call Red Deer home are invited to attend the event on April 21st at Parkland Mall from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“This is our way of putting a face to the City and saying come talk to us. Questions can be answered and suggestions can be made at this event.”

Rausch said for people not to expect to come in and make a suggestion and see it happen immediately, but to know where the information goes.

“All information is collected on comment cards or forms and given to the appropriate departments to look at and evaluate as they will.”

Emergency services will also be on site in the parking lot outside and Rausch said children are welcome to come and tour the ambulances or meet the people in uniforms and learn about the RCMP as well.

“You can ask questions and learn about everything from fire prevention and safety to heart defibrillators.”

Rausch said quite often people in the community don’t actually know what services are offered and Let’s Talk 2012 is a good way to come out and learn about the City.

Communications Consultant with the City, Christina Verticchio, said in past years there has been a really good balance of people who are actively involved in the workings of City Hall to ordinary citizens who might just be passing through the mall that day.

“There is certainly wisdom in numbers and it’s great if people are willing to share their feedback with us that we might otherwise miss at an open house,” said Verticchio.

She said attendance has always been good and that there have been numerous comment cards taken back to each department with suggestions as well as complaints or questions.

“We have everyone there from front-line staff to elected officials so people can get an understanding from everyone as to what’s happening in the City.”

Verticchio said people often don’t realize how much the municipal government impacts their lives from where the water they brush their teeth with comes from to who maintains the roads they drive on to and from work.

“It’s like a taste-testing of the City.”

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