Frank Favot Answers Re: Community Engagement and Empowerment
1.Upon being elected councilor I plan on having very frequent and regular ward council meetings. I believe these are crucial to the success we want to be a part of. I will examine how to best inform the ward of the meetings. I will invite all residents. The forum will be democratic and open dialogue on issues we find important to the people of the ward, whatever they may be. In campaigning this election, far too much misinformation has been talked about by the candidates. The record needs to set straight in terms of the issues. There are candidates telling voters today that the CTC is not engaged in any litigation with area residents! This is outrageous. We have had ward meetings in the past but these have been far and few between. Engaging and dialoguing with the community are strategies that have worked in community outreach and it has been proven that to allow greater consultation will be a major benefit for the community. This topic of engagement has been the front piece to my campaign from day one. I can’t wait to begin this extremely important contribution to citizen engagement and democracy.
2. Today we have ever increasing rates of childhood obesity. Parks are a great way to keep children and adults in good physical condition. Why would we reduce their numbers? Parks require enhancements to encourage their use and our council should be behind this and be the leaders to initiate this important tool in personal development. People have told me that the pathways that have been placed in various parks have resulted in greater usage! Seldom used parks now find people in wheelchairs, walkers and also those without disadvantages using them more often. They are also used more frequently in inclement weather.
The use of community gardens is also another aspect of parks to take advantage of. If we could show people that growing food is a natural and much healthier lifestyle, that would be a major contribution to a number of positive benefits for not just our city but for our health care system and mental well being.
3. The label has stuck through years and years of unfortunate perception. There isn’t an area I have been in, that I am afraid of walking through. It has been proven again to me in this campaign that our streets are safe and the residents are among the most amicable and friendliest in the city! There are areas that have the appearance of being bad but are not. Reducing blight will contribute to remove this unfortunate perception. If it can be indicated through the use of police crime statistics that our west end has lower rates of crime than other areas of the city; then we must find a way to broadcast this fact. I am curious where we rank by ward in this city in terms of crime, but it is a non issue at the door. Neighborhood watch groups are proven to reduce crime and enhance the community. I have already assisted a group in the city in finding out how to start a neighborhood watch group, we should welcome and encourage people to do this. My son is a police officer and I am certain police want more people in the communities to be aware of their neighbor’s well being and get the children in the neighborhoods engaged in activity that promotes lifestyles that contribute to the common good. If there are any areas of higher crime, my personal belief is that there is nothing like police presence to ward off the bad guys. Also greater police community involvement is required as well. Police understand the issues of mental health and how they play out in the community in ways that are detrimental. They have been and will continue to be regular partners in the community.
4 This is exactly what I have been talking about all during the campaign and even into this discussion. It is vital and crucial that we do this. I am so excited to be able to be a part of something that I know will have many intangible benefits for our community and as well real and responsible gains that we can look to and say we getting better. Any strategy that promotes citizen engagement and civic duty is a positive development! As a Catholic School Board Trustee I learned this valuable lesson of consulting with the community through the many processes we engaged our stakeholders. The idea is always to inform, engage, consult and evaluate. Anything else is a dictatorship!
The development strategy then is a wonderful initiative that I will look forward to playing a role in, in the spring of 2015. I look across other wards in the city and nowhere else do I read about the type of community engagement we are seeing happening right here in the west end of Windsor! I will assist this in any way I can.