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Future seen by small crowd

Dozens of people joined city councillors and staff in the Civic Centre’s council chamber on Tuesday night to catch a glimpse of the City of Vaughan’s future self as outlined in a draft report.

Vaughan Vision 2020 lays out the key priorities the city wants to act on in decades to come. Those priorities were determined with input from city staff and surveys of residents conducted by mail and phone.

The meeting on Tuesday was intended to be informative and transparent, and to solicit feedback from the public – a public held captive to an hour-long PowerPoint presentation of screen upon screen of bullet-pointed lists.

“Wasn’t this exciting?” said Regional Councillor Mario Ferri as he stepped to the microphone following the presentation.

The chamber came back to life, with a polite round of laughter.

“It was,” Ferri went on. “This is the process that’s going to take us to the next phase of this wonderful city.

“It may appear a bit dry, but it’s really important.”

The purpose of Vaughan Vision 2020 and the process surrounding it is to arrive at a master plan that “maps out our vision for the future” and how to arrive at that map’s destination, said city manager Michael DeAngelis.

The feedback received following the presentation will be incorporated into a draft document headed to the Oct. 9 strategic planning committee meeting. The city is working toward finalizing its strategic plan by the end of the year, DeAngelis said.

“We had a good turnout considering that it is an exercise of looking at some pretty dry stuff,” Ferri said by phone the following day. “It was great to see representation from different sectors: there were ratepayers’ groups, community people, firefighters, library board staff.

“There was a good mix of people from the community.”

Following Tuesday’s presentation, Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio expressed some surprise at what she considered a small turnout. She said she counted roughly 20 people who do not work for the city at some level. She interpreted the low numbers as a sign the city is doing a good job.

“There is something to be said about lack of attendance from the public at a public forum,” Frustaglio said. “We have a very aware, very educated population in the city of Vaughan and, believe me, if they were not getting their money’s worth, they would be here in droves.”

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 5, 2007
Page: 5
Byline: Philip Alves