A few more days to have an impact on how the city communicates with you; chance to save some trees and $50,000 a year as well.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  August 7, 2012  The city of Burlington publishes a magazine they call City Talk – they do that three times a year.

The city has the post office distribute the magazine to every home in the city – that costs a bit less than $20,000.

Based on our very limited research (sample of 75 people located in Wards 1,2 and 4) we found most people did not recall getting the magazine.  When shown a copy,  most have a vague recollection but don’t recall what they did with the publication.

Some – 32 of the 75 – kept the magazine until waste collection day and then threw it out.

The city has created a place on their web site asking you to tell them what you think.

Click and tell hem what you think.

The city wants to know if they should continue sending you their magazine three times a year. If you say no they will be able to save $50,000 a year If you say yes – they will have to cut down more trees.


We think the part (about 50%) of the magazine written by the members of Council is a total waste of time.  While somewhat informative the Council members do a better job with their web site newsletters.  Councillors Meed Ward and Craven have excellent newsletters.  Councillor Dennison is catching on.  Councillors Sharman, Lancaster and Taylor either don’t know how to get a newsletter out or don’t care all that much.

Councillor Taylor has such an excellent relationship with his constituents that he hardly needs a newsletter.

The communications game is changing on a monthly basis and the city struggles to keep up with the changes in the technology.  Citizen Committees are not allowed to create Facebook pages for the people that are interested in what they are doing.  If a committee wants to publish or publicize anything they have to work through a Clerk to get something on the city web site – where it is not always easy to find what you are looking for.

The city has made a commitment to upgrade its web site and has a specialist on staff to prepare for the implementation of new software that will eventually link city department reports to council meetings.  No date on when we are going to see that implemented.

Burlington is still stuck in the world of print – getting out of that kind of a rut is easier said than done.  You can help the city but telling them what you think of City Talk.

We asked the public affairs at city hall how the survey was going and if they would be releasing numbers when the survey ended.

Here was the response:

If we need to, we may have the survey open longer than Aug. 10. If so, we would let people know that it is being extended.  If we do not achieve high enough numbers, we will keep going until we do.

Help these people – do the survey and put them out of their misery


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