By Tracey Arial
So far, 143 people have signed up to participate in Verdun’s two-day consultation sessions on Friday, May 30, and Saturday, May 31. Another 66 say “maybe.”
Observers believe that the borough should probably plan for about double that number of participants. Verdun residents aren’t used to registering to attend public consultations and many are likely to show up.
That’s what happened at the official launch on Thursday, April 17. Only 80 people registered, but more than 120 people showed up. Several people who asked questions said they’d never attended political events before, but were attracted by the openness of the newly-elected council.
Verdun Mayor Jean-François Parenteau hopes that the consultation process will inspire people about the borough and help council prioritize its many big plans.
“We have too much to do,” he said. “Our budget is limited and we need to rebuild all infrastructures from the 1960s. We have to prioritize. I want all the citizens to participate in setting the direction for our borough in the future, and that includes everyone. There will be bilingual focus groups too. That’s very important to me.”
During the launch, Mayor Parenteau said that the borough would post reports from the Forum de Verdun, the Urban Plan consultations and Quartier 21 to prepare for the public meetings.
“We’re not going to start from zero,” said Parenteau. “We’re going to summarize all those reports and include the recommendations from them within this process. Together, we’ll lay the foundations for a new strategic development plan that will establish priorities and key directions to guide us over the next decade.”
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