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Greater Victoria, BC News

ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
9/29/2011 Media Release
Open Data and Accountability are Pillars of Our Vibrant Community

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MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     

Open Data and Accountability are Pillars of Our Vibrant Community

September 29, 2011 – Victoria, BC – The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce supports the call for easier access to voting information, open data and increased transparency around municipal government business.  The Chamber’s recently launched campaign “Our Vibrant Community” includes these as a pillar of good governance for the region.

“Public service is an incredibly important part of our community’s vibrancy. At the same time, being elected to serve on council is a privilege and a responsibility to champion the needs and interests of our community. This relationship is best served when citizens are able to easily understand what decisions and actions are being taken on their behalf.” said Bruce Carter, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “How did our representatives vote on issues? Who is taking responsibility?  What were the reasons for a particular choice?  These are all questions that are important for our community to understand.”

Pillar #3: Actively communicate municipal business in a clear and understandable fashion

·         Publish council’s voting records in a timely and accessible fashion

·         Work to ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to fully understand the nature and context of council discussions whether or not they are able to attend council meetings

·         Adopt notification systems for agendas and minutes so citizens can sign up to automatically receive meeting notifications and meeting outcomes as they are published

Those unable to attend meetings in person can review council minutes to try and understand the resolutions and voting record on a particular issue. However, published council meeting minutes can be hard to understand, and navigating the content to figure out voting records can be time consuming. The minutes don’t always convey much detail regarding the specific discussions at the meeting, and usually only convey the key decisions and votes of those opposed. If you decide to go online, searching municipal databases for past decisions and discussions on specific issues can be daunting for the average citizen.

The pillars of good governance are described in further detail in the latest issue of the Chamber’s Business Matters magazine and the Chamber website, and were developed as part of a Chamber-led initiative to get Victorians talking about ways to make our region even better. 

As we approach a municipal election, “Our Vibrant Community” is a campaign that highlights the pillars of good governance and aims to encourage discussion of the big picture, set priorities as a community and encourage debate. The campaign will be detailed on the Chamber’s website and will include space where candidates will be invited to comment on these pillars.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has close to 1,500 members and is the Voice of Business for the Greater Victoria region. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has received Accreditation with Distinction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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For more information contact:

Ellen Henry                                                                           Bruce Carter

Manager of Member Communications                                            Chief Executive Officer
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce                                         Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Email:  ehenry@gvcc.org                                                                   Email:  bcarter@gvcc.org

Cell: 250-812-0510                                                            

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