Resident feedback requested at town hall

Masha Scheele

Hinton Town Council is hosting a Town Hall open to all residents on Thursday, Oct. 17.

The event includes both a state of the community address from Mayor Marcel Michaels and 60 minutes for residents to share their thoughts and priorities with council. 

The town hall should be about listening to the concerns of residents prior to the town’s strategic planning session, stated Coun. Dewly Nelson at the Aug. 27 standing committee meeting.

One topic per visit to the microphone may be determined based on the number of attendees, allowing each resident the opportunity to speak, though the mayor may invite speakers to continue onto other topics, stated Emily Olsen, strategic services manager.

The town hall will mimic the well-known citizens minute with council format used at regular council meetings in Hinton where residents are given the opportunity to speak to council about issues, events, or concerns for one minute each.

The town hall will be an extension of this format, allowing more residents to have a chance to speak.

The town news release stated that the function of a Minute with Council is to share opinions, news, or suggestions and not considered a venue for in-depth inquiry. 

“Questions will be considered, and if an answer is not readily available, they will be captured in our notes and follow up communications will be provided to the public through our website and social media next week,” added Olsen.

Following the town hall, information on what was said and which topics were brought up will be shared with the public through video footage via the Town Website, similar to how council meetings are shared.

The last town hall was held in 2011, and created a place for residents to publicly ask questions of council and subject matter experts.

Whereas, only one issue was discussed at the town hall in 2011 regarding the municipality’s practice of putting fluoride in the water, residents at this meeting can bring up any issues they feel need to be considered going into strategic planning and budget debates.

Topic experts on both sides of the issue in 2011 were brought out to answer questions by concerned citizens, but at this year’s town hall, residents will speak to council only.

Twenty-five residents attended the 2011 town hall, according to the Hinton town website, but 69.8 per cent of 200 residents voted in a survey for the continuance of fluoridating town drinking water.

Although residents aren’t required to RSVP for the town hall, they can do so through the Facebook event where updates are also posted.

Residents have an opportunity to speak with council and administration directly following the town hall.

An online focus group will be made available  by the town for residents to share their thoughts.

The public Town Hall is held on Oct. 17 at the West Fraser Guild: Performing Arts Theatre of Hinton at 6 pm.