Wednesday
May202015

Connecting the dots for a better #Ptbo continues...  

Connecting the dots for a better community was a goal of the Chamber’s Young Professionals Group Policy Forum in November 2014.  In fact the topics and discussion at the seven roundtables turned into a seven week series in this space.  But that wasn’t the end of pushing the results of those discussions into the hands of the decision makers.  In April, the Chamber Policy Committee decided to group like results and send the information to municipal leaders in the form of a letter.  A letter was also sent to the non-profit sector with information about a suggestion to harness the power of the numerous not-for-profits in the area and form a not-for-profit network.  It is our understanding that work on this idea has already begun and we hope the
information offered from the policy forum will be beneficial.

At the forum, there were seven table discussions based on an article by Don Tapscott, Chancellor of Trent
University, best-selling author, economist and thought leader.  The article “As Toronto dithers, Guelph sets sights on 21st century” was first published in the Toronto Star on Friday, October 17, 2014.

The article detailed seven ways municipal leaders can create an engaging relationship with their community.  

  1. Promoting Entrepreneurship to Achieve Prosperity
  2. Open Government
  3. Turning Public Safety Inside Out
  4. Rethinking Transportation
  5. Creating a Sustainable City
  6. Transforming Social Services
  7. Reinventing Local Democracy

The letters to the City and County of Peterborough made several key points.  The first key point was to inform municipal leaders at the elected and staff levels of the discussion by about 45 business leaders in the community.  The second key point was to offer tangible ideas that could push the agenda of a better, more efficient community forward.  

  1. Zoning. A review of zoning in the City of Peterborough & County of Peterborough to determine if uses reflect the current realities of our economy and needs of the community
  2. Posting the Councillor Handbook Online as a resource for all residents
  3. Encouraging continued use of working groups on issues affecting business (e.g. Electronic Sign By-law Group)
  4. Introducing a Service Peterborough Call Centre similar to the service offered in other municipalities such as Oshawa.  This creates a “no wrong door” atmosphere for business owners and residents
  5. Holding Town Halls with residents and business leaders.  There has been positive activity in this regard:  there was a ward meeting on Thursday, March 26, 2015 in the Northcrest area and Mayor Bennett has encouraged councillors to host such forums.   
  6. Lighting.  The table discussion around Public Safety came to the conclusion that lighting areas where crimes could possibly happen would be a deterrent to potential crime and a comfort to those with a negative perception of downtown.  
  7. Real-time Transit Stop Arrival.  By moving to this type of model with dedicated times, the group discussing transportation felt it would encourage more casual use and increase confidence in the service as a whole.
  8. Connecting to rural bus services.  With the Peterborough area having a large rural component the group felt integrating rural systems and stops into Peterborough transit will build ridership and equity of transportation options for residents looking to come into the city and those needing to attend in rural areas.

This was the third year for the policy forum for the Chamber’s Young Professionals Group.  The first year discussion centered on the downtown core, and in year two the discussion was around un- and under employment in the Greater Peterborough Area.  The discussion from year two led to a call for a regional jobs strategy, a notion that has struck a chord with the Chamber and its community partners on the economic front.    

This year the Young Professionals Group is developing the first annual “Strengthening Business Summit” to
be held on November 19, 2015.  The theme for the half day summit is “Re-energize your business” and will feature two main speakers and four workshop/panel discussions.   Stay tuned for more information on speakers and tickets in the coming months.  

The Young Professionals Group has been a part of the Peterborough Chamber for eight years and hosts a
variety of programming from networking events to CEO tours of local companies.  Find out more at www.peterboroughchamber.ca/young-professionals-group.html 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 

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