Just what level of service should city hall provide? And will technology deliver what the taxpayers want?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2016



There is a lawyer in town who loves the city – has run for public office and is “involved” in civic affairs. Nice fellow; dependable, decent, gives a damn. He speaks of the city as being a nice place where the quality of life is good.

And on that one he isn’t wrong but he isn’t as right as he would like it to be.


Is leaf collecting a service the city should be providing? The trees are on city property.

Sheldon Creek - chemicl cans

These chemical containers were discovered in Sheldon creek – is their removal a city responsibility?

Another citizen is also active, also involved and has lived in the city since the 50’s. He is the kind of guy who will pick up the phone when he sees something he thinks is wrong. He lives near the Village Square.

The Blyth Academy made a smart move when they set up classes for their students in the Village Square. This gave the “campus” a downtown feel rather than an austere building in the boonies or some commercial waste land where space was cheap.

There is a decent number of students about which suggests the idea is working.

Adults seem to understand that smoking is going to kill you eventually and certainly shorten your life span but that doesn’t seem to have penetrated the fertile minds of the Blyth Academy students. They got into the habit of slipping out for a fag in the Village Square which happens to abut a condominium with which they share common spaces.

The residents don’t appreciate the cigarette butts littering the ground – the students got rousted and the problem was solved.

Students being students, driven more by peer pressure than common sense, found another place to smoke – the city parking lot right across the street.

Our observant citizen picked up the phone, called city hall thinking a bylaw enforcement officer could pay the area a visit and shoo the students back to their classroom

Didn’t quite work out that way.

Our citizen was told it was a Regional responsibility; then was told it was a Parks and Recreation responsibility and that the person who could do something was away. After three to four transfers to someone else – the citizen gave up.

While going through the background papers the city has provided on the capital budget that is going to be debated next week we came across an item which we passed along to the citizen with a real hurt for smokers.

The budget submission includes the funding of the purchase of a Customer Relationship Management / Knowledge Base System (CRM/KB) that will build services for the community, focusing on the needs of our customers. This system will allow our customers to engage with the city and have access to information and services through the channel of their choice; phone, social media, city’s website or email. Creating an integrated service delivery model available through multiple channels is only possible through the acquisition and implementation of such a system. Staff plan to consolidate service inquiries and requests and transform Service Burlington into a centralized customer contact centre.

His comment: “It seems to me that it’s a people problem. No system will fix the experience I had. It’s more to do with the culture, a simple commitment of all staff to excellent customer service.”

The same could probably be said the the falling leaves problem in Roseland.  The comments made by readers on that problem are instructive.

Related article:

Leaf collections – problem with the timing.

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