District of West Vancouver has written to us in response to a letter by West Van resident and council-watcher Melinda Slater published by us recently. Slater highlighted how the district prevented sharing of information and ideas on its website. The district, however, insists it is totally transparent in this respect. Below is the letter written by Donna Powers, Director, Community Relations & Communications:
To the editor,
On September 2, 2019, the Global Canadian published a headline stating that the District of West Vancouver hides information. The article continues to say “…because it does not want you to know what your fellow residents think about important issues.” This is not true. What the District DID do was to launch a significantly upgraded online engagement platform on October 1, 2018. The old platform was five years old and never had an upgrade.
The old platform posted each person’s completed survey (with their consent). Showing people individual completed surveys can influence their opinion and skew results. Surveys represent community opinion best when inputs are independent. That’s why current best practice is to keep individual survey responses private.
That said, all survey data was downloaded from the old platform before it was retired and is available to the public upon request.
The other headline published by the Global Canadian’s link to this story reads: ”district-of-west-van-suppresses-info-and-ideas-calls-it-best-practice/.”
The District of West Vancouver is committed to upholding a consistent and transparent approach to community outreach and engagement that helps ensure that residents have opportunities for dialogue on matters that are important to them.
A survey is a basic one-way method of collecting public input. It is not intended to facilitate the sharing of ideas and information. The District facilitates dialogue sharing ideas and information with community members in groups at face-to-face meetings.
The District is transparent in its survey practices. How? By publishing the results, and showing how participant feedback was taken into account during the public input process.
Updating the online engagement platform resulted in a great many improvements in the online experience for our stakeholders. More than 2,000 people have completed one or more surveys since the October upgrade, taking advantage of improved information and functionality. Visit www.westvancouverITE to learn more.
Director, Community Relations & Communications District of West Vancouver