The city government seems to be hinting, since the start of this week, that the boil water notice may end soon. If and when that happens it will be good news for everyone. But what should the city government focus on once the notice is lifted?
Once the current boil water notice is lifted by Northern Health, Community for Clean Water will call on the city government to:
- conduct a review,
- develop an emergency plan,
- rebuild trust,
- and strengthen civic engagement.
Conduct a review:
- What happened and why?
- What steps could of prevented this from happening in the first place?
- Whose decisions, and what priorities, were responsible for the conditions that led to the boil water notice?
- What can be done to prevent (or reduce the risk) of this happening again soon?
Develop an emergency plan:
- If there is a next time, be prepared to reach everyone in the city with all information – not just those who happen to use social media (or who are already subscribers of the social media pages for the city’s elected officials)
- If there is a next time, have a plan in place to provide clean water for everyone who needs it, including for those most vulnerable with with the greatest unmet needs
Rebuild trust and strengthen civic engagement:
- Prioritize transparency, accountability, and preparedness
- Encourage everyone to participate in open and public forums that welcome civic engagement from diverse perspectives
- Welcome constructive feedback and expression of concerns by all residents and from all points of view
- Publicly work with civic, labour, and business organizations, other levels of government – including First Nations governments, advocacy organizations, and communities of faith to broaden the discussion and increase citizen engagement