Sidewalk street markers at Richardson and Harbinger streets in Fairfield. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Sidewalk street markers at Richardson and Harbinger streets in Fairfield. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

LETTER: City’s engagement process on Richardson project frustrates resident

Re: Richardson Street redesign continues to hear opposition in Victoria (vicnews.com)

Thanks to Don Descoteau for illuminating yet another case where the City of Victoria solicited public input and then ignored considerable opposition because it wasn’t compatible with pre-determined plans. I’ve repeatedly requested information on what the Richardson Bike Project will do by pushing increased traffic, noise and pollution along the Fairfield Road corridor, which passes several school zones and parks.

The bigger issue is the failure of the city’s public engagement to earn public trust. Serious public engagement provides community members meaningful opportunities to participate in decision-making. Victoria’s process has become little more than a device used by the city and proponents to foist their views on the public. That’s a mistake.

Sound decisions require the city to take seriously its responsibility for an honest, transparent public engagement process and for all of us to listen with respect to people rooted in the community, motivated by the neighbourhood’s long-term best interests. Without genuine public participation our democratic decision-making process becomes a farce. Many people think we are already there and ask whose interests does it serve to discourage public participation or waste people’s time on a process whose outcome already has been decided.

Michael Bloomfield

Victoria

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