An online forum is offering Saanich residents a chance to learn more about the candidates in this fall’s municipal election while providing feedback on the issues that will likely dominate discussion around the council table.
The site is hosted on PlaceSpeak, and is not an official District of Saanich site.
“We are engaging Saanich residents in an open, authenticated, non-partisan dialogue around key issues facing Saanich. We hope helps inform all candidates and encourages greater participation in the 2018 election,” reads the introduction on the PlaceSpeak Saanich site.
Through PlaceSpeak, residents are asked to take part in an initial poll to identify the issues that matter most to them. Based on the results, they can then join subsequent
discussions that will explore the selected topics.
“Several key issues such as tent city, lack of housing options, urban green space, traffic, transit and others are top of mind for our residents,” said Fred Haynes, a Saanich councillor and mayoralty candidate who set up the webpage. “I believe all of council and Saanich will benefit from hearing more from our residents on these issues.”
PlaceSpeak’s geoverification technology ensures the comments truly reflect the views of Saanich residents. The authentication process also deters negative behaviour such as trolling or spamming, enabling a respectful online dialogue on challenging issues.
PlaceSpeak also takes steps to ensure that users’ personal information is secure. The information used to authenticate participants is never shared, sold or otherwise distributed – not even with Haynes.
“PlaceSpeak has been designed to authenticate the online public participation process,” said founder and CEO Colleen Hardwick. “Political discourse online can attract trolls, bots and other forms of manipulation. By using PlaceSpeak, Saanich residents can safely engage in meaningful dialogue without dysfunction during this election season.”
Residents within the District of Saanich can register and join the conversation from their computer or mobile device at https://www.placespeak.com/saanichdialogue.