Brockton hopes online engagement platform increases input, feedback from residents
BROCKTON – The Municipality of Brockton is hoping an online software system will increase community engagement on a number of issues within the town.
At council’s Oct. 29 meeting, CAO Sonya Watson presented a report to council about Bang the Table, an online-based community engagement tool that is designed specifically for the government sector that allows municipalities to engage their citizens directly.
Watson said in her report that staff have been investigating this service throughout 2019 and attended a demonstration of the platform in September.
The platform is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by provider Bang the Table. Bang the Table moderates the comments to make sure that they comply with the platform’s policies and to eliminate comments with offensive or hateful language. The respondent will receive an email from Bang the Table explaining why it was removed.
Watson’s report stated that after further research and conversations with Bang the Table, as well as consulting with neighbouring municipalities that are using the platform, staff believe that the software would be beneficial to council and staff for decision making and communications purposes.
Watson also wrote that the municipality needs to be continually looking for alternative methods of engaging residents and receiving input.
“Bang the Table is another tool that will assist council and staff in achieving its goals and priorities and ensure the views of residents are understood related to certain projects and initiatives,” Watson wrote. “Bang the Table would have been a great asset for the recent Truax Dam partial removal project, Durham Street sidewalk revitalization and the cannabis retail survey.”
The municipality, according to Watson’s report, will commit to a two-year agreement at $7,500 per year for a subscription to Bang the Table. The 2020 fee would be funded through the 2019 service agreements budget, and the 2021 fee would be budgeted for in the 2020 budget.
Watson is hoping that the platform can be up and running by Jan. 1, 2020. The first community project staff are hoping to use the platform for is the 2020 budget.
“The goal of this project is to help educate and inform our residents about the municipal budget, as well as provide an opportunity for residents to have their voice heard,” wrote Watson.
Other projects that the platform would be used for include commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Walkerton water crisis, Walkerton 150 Homecoming, economic development initiatives and projects in the 2020 budget.