Public Engagement Sessions
One of City Council’s Strategic Focus Areas for 2017-2020 is to address Community Perceptions. This focus area was created by Council to improve resident and visitor perceptions about Brooks through proactive communications, myth-busting campaigns, effective branding, and public engagement. In our workplan, City staff was tasked with hosting community events and open houses to engage and educate residents.
The public engagement sessions were organized by the City's communications team in an effort to speak with residents face-to-face and answer any questions they may have in regards to the City.
Below are questions asked during the public engagement sessions. If you would like further information on the sessions or one of the questions, please contact our communications department at 403-362-3333.
Questions & Answers
1. Is the Soccer Field at the Duke of Sutherland Park going to get better grass?
A. Yes. The Parks Department will try to fix it in the Spring but the entire field will need to be closed down for at least a month. Parks tried fixing some areas this year and flagged off the areas but people would take the flags down before the area was healed. The City asks that people give the field time to heal before going onto the field.
2. If a City tree fell onto my property (more specifically my car) who do I call?
A. First be sure it is indeed a City tree by contacting the Parks Department at 403-362-0271. If it is a City tree, you will be directed to what you should do next.
3. Why doesn’t the City add on to the skate park and make the bowls bigger?
A. The skateboard park is just like a playground, sports field or the water park. We don’t typically replace or add on to playgrounds or the water spray park unless we receive a significant grant/donation or the asset is at the end of its useful life. We’re proud to be able to offer a facility such as this to residents but there are a number of other, equally important facilities that are funded from the same pool of funding (soccer fields, trail network, water park, tennis courts, beautification projects, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, etc). If you would like to see this item prioritized, you have a couple of options. You should participate in the annual budget engagement tool, Citizen Budget (released in the Fall), and share your thoughts on why the skate park needs more funding. Or, you could speak directly to a Councillor, their contact information is available on our website and they’re happy to meet with residents, especially those that are proactively looking for solutions. Finally, you could take your case to the Recreation & Parks Board and make a presentation. The new Recreation, Parks and Culture Master Plan will be completed in 2020 and they will be looking for input from residents.
Sound intimidating? It doesn’t have to be! We have staff people that can help you along the way if you need help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can there be more garbage cans placed at the Old Rodeo Grounds?
A. Yes. There are currently eight at the Old Rodeo Grounds and the Parks Department will add three more.
5. Why doesn’t the City pick up garbage in the alley (Pleasant Park Crescent West resident)? People don’t take their garbage bins back in and they don’t look good.
A. There are some residences in this area that do not have access to the back alley so it needs to be front pick up. The alley is also narrow which creates hazards during pickup.
6. Are you allowed to dump garbage into large dumpsters around town? What actions are taken by staff when an over-sized item, such as sofa is seen in an alley? Does the City pick it up? If not, what should people do?
A. Large dumpsters around the City are for commercial businesses or apartment complex residents only - they are paid for by those property owners. Other residents are not to put unwanted garbage in these dumpsters. Public Works will not pick up oversized items such as sofas, mattresses, fridges, stoves etc. It is entirely up to the resident to properly dispose of oversized items at their own expense; they can take them to the landfill, or pay a company to remove them. If Public Works notices oversized items in alleyways they will record the address, take pictures of the waste that was left and contact Municipal Enforcement to get in contact with the homeowner to have it removed. When you see an oversized item, you can report it using Newell Connect.
7. When are potholes around town going to get fixed?
A. Potholes are filled in on an ongoing basis when resources are available. Public Works keeps a list of found and/or reported potholes. Residents can report in potholes using our complaint tracking app, Newell Connect.
8. Why are my taxes so high?
A. Each year the City prepares a budget which determines the amount of Property Tax dollars that needs to be collected in order to provide Municipal Services to our residents. The services that each department provides is outlined in the Budget Document. The total amount of property taxes required to fund these services is then divided up between all the taxable assessment in the City. Therefore, if you are a homeowner or business owner, the assessed value of your property will determine what share of the required revenue is your responsibility to pay. Our budget engagement tool, Citizen Budget, is released each Fall and residents are encouraged to participate.
9. Are they going to pay refs more for basketball? I don’t mind paying more in playing fees for better refs.
A. We are increasing our basketball referee fees for our leagues this year. Rather than the previous $25/game for un-carded refs, it will now be $30 per game per ref. That being said, we are expecting to get un-carded refs for the leagues rather than carded as we do realize the carded refs expect a much higher fee. If we were to contract carded referees, league fees would jump to approximately $975. This year we will be keeping the women’s basketball league at $600/team, and the men’s will increase to $650/team.
10. I would like to know the summer drop-in schedule for the JBS Canada Centre. Why isn’t this posted online?
A. The schedule changes regularly, depending on bookings, so it is really difficult to keep it current in ‘real-time’. We hope in the future – with the development of a new recreation booking/scheduling software – we will be able to show more information on our website and that it will be updated automatically as things change.
In the meantime, we will post scheduled times on the calendar on the website, but this can change as new times are added around bookings. We also allow unscheduled drop-in times if there are not any bookings in that space. You can call 403-362-3622 to find out the most up-to-date schedule at that time and to find out if/when there are any unscheduled times. Again, we hope this information will be more available and user-friendly when we launch our new software (date TBD) but will work to get more information up on the site ASAP until then.
11. Why aren’t the pool hours the same as the facility hours?
A. Budget and demand. It costs more to operate the pool than any other part of the facility in large part due to the requirement for lifeguards. There would also be an increase cost for electricity and chemical consumption. Unless there is a significant demand for these hours, and enough patrons to balance it out, it is difficult to justify the expense.
12. Why do we allow people to swim in their clothes?
A. The Alberta Pool Standards does not address the issue of proper or allowed swim wear for public swimming pools. As such, few facilities will go into much detail, but will look to educate the public on safety and hygiene. Such as,
- What you wear should be Safe & Clean.
- Lifeguards must make a judgment call based on safety and must restrict access if the clothing in question presents a drowning risk.
- What is considered clean? There is no scientific evidence that links swimwear to a risk of recreational water illnesses and as such we following the Royal Lifesaving Society’s observation and recommendation on this matter. Those guidelines for "Accepted Swimwear in Accordance with Safety & Hygiene" can be found by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/y6e4fk5p
The Recreation Department is also working on putting together some educational material to help residents understand what is considered proper/allowed swim wear. We hope to have this completed soon.13. How do I apply for a job at the City?
A. Job seekers are encouraged to visit our website at https://www.brooks.ca/313/Our-Careers-Corner
for a full list of current job openings. If there isn't a current position that you're interested in, you are more than welcome to email your resume to email@example.com and staff will keep your resume on file.
14. Why doesn't Brooks recycle plastics?
According to the Newell Recycling Association, who oversees recycling for the City of Brooks and County of Newell,
almost all of the 9 categories of plastics can be recycled if separated. Sorting the plastics at Newell Recycling is not possible and there is no one accepting mixed plastics at this time. We are actively seeking recycling options for mixed plastics. Plastics such as polyethylene (Number 2) are accepted. For more information visit: https://newellrecycling.ca/
15. Why did Piston Broke receive $10,000 for their patio?
A. Piston Broke actually received $8,000 for the development of a patio from NewGrow, a grant offered by the City/County economic development team, known as Brooks Region. NewGrow is a program aimed at supporting new and existing businesses in the Region. Funding helped Piston Broke break down financial barriers and has stimulated business growth as they have more than doubled their seating capacity. Learn more about the program: https://www.brooksregion.ca/get-to-know-us/programs-studies-and-services.
16. Is this booth (public engagement session) going to become a regular thing?
A. The communications team has allocated two open houses per year into their plan (the next one being in the Fall), however if they see a positive benefit or an increase in participation they will look at possibly hosting more throughout the year.