News Algonquin Highlands launches new engagement tool SHARE ON: Lee Griffi, staff Wednesday, Jan. 12th, 2022 Photo taken from Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt Facebook page The township is hoping for more feedback from its residents through an online portal called ‘Let’s Connect Algonquin Highlands’. The tool will be used to consult and communicate with residents and community members on a variety of issues on an ongoing basis. It’s an opportunity for members of the public to share their ideas and concerns, and to help shape policy going forward. “We’re excited to launch this more robust way of engaging with the community,” says Mayor Carol Moffatt. “We’ve had a lot of success with social media over the years, but this is very different and will allow a more focused and issue-specific way for the public to participate in local government.” Moffatt says social media has been useful in some regard, but the online portal is a step above. “Facebook is not a legitimate engagement tool in my opinion and in the opinion of many. This provides a legitimate, organized and formalized portal where residents can provide their feedback,” says Moffat. There are two main areas of discussion currently on the platform and they are the municipality’s communication plan and zoning by-law which includes items like cannabis cultivation, backyard hens and septic system setbacks. The mayor says to date the community does seem keen. “There has been a steady subscription rate. It’s not in the thousands yet but people are definitely signing up and I am looking forward to seeing what people have to say.” She adds COVID has brought tremendous change to the community. “We need to look at more progressive and innovative ways to engage with people and get them to help us govern the community they choose to live in,” she says. The township’s communications coordinator receives the information and boils it down into a report for council before meetings. “I really encourage folks to sign up and help us help them govern the community. We need input and feedback from the public this should be a great way to achieve that,” adds Moffatt. To become a part of the conversation, go to https://letsconnectalgonquinhighlands.ca/.