To be effective in the debate on a public planning issue you must understand the issue. Your criticisms of and/or support for a planning issue will have more weight if it is clear you have thoroughly considered the issue and have correct and relevant information.
Becoming informed takes some effort. It may mean:
- Reading about the topic;
- Visiting the Planning Department to question staff or examine case files;
- Attending community council meetings;
- Attending special meetings called on the topic by the Planning Department, proponents, or opponents;
- Researching web sites devoted to the topic; and
- Giving thoughtful consideration to possible alternatives.
Become active in your Community Council.
Community councils provide an open door into any public planning debate. Community councils are officially recognized by the Municipality and nearly every neighborhood is within a community council (See a map). Recommendations received from a council are considered by the decision-making body as valuable information
Actively participate in the decision process
Your opinion, recommendations, and suggested alternatives can help in the final formulation of public planning decisions. You may prepare and submit written testimony in the form of letters, returned mail-out notices, e-mail, and faxes. Be sure to submit your written testimony in enough time to allow it to get to the decision-makers. You may also stand before the decision-making body and make a presentation at the public hearing (See information on testifying).