That may be about to change as city officials quietly prepare a combination budget consultation/state-of-the-city event with participation by councillors from all five wards and staffers from every city department.
The tentpole event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.
It's inspired by a recent town hall gathering organized by Ward 2 Couns. Lisa Vezeau-Allen and Luke Dufour, says Tessa Vecchio, the city's corporate communications officer.
Planning for the combined event is extensive and it's looking to be as meticulously choreographed as a Lucas Beaver stage show.
Malcolm White, the city's new chief administrative officer, will deliver 10 minutes of introductory remarks starting at 6 p.m.
Mayor Christian Provenzano's state-of-the-city address will then last 20 minutes, accompanied by videos and professionally taken photographs supplied by FutureSSM.
"This is a great opportunity for him to showcase some of the projects that we've been working on and some of the highlights of the past year," Vecchio says.
The mayor's speech will be followed by 15 minutes of closing remarks from White.
From 6:45 until 8 p.m., attendees will be invited to mix and mingle with ward councillors and city staff representing the following departments:
- traffic (vehicular speed and traffic volumes)
- parks (grass cutting, floral bed management)
- operations (construction, paved roadways, sewer maintenance)
- waste management (recycling, leaf and yard waste)
- winter operations (snow plowing, sanding, removal)
- engineering (storm water management, reconstruction projects)
- planning (Shape the Sault, downtown development, active transportation)
- FutureSSM (downtown plaza, community art project)
- recreation and culture (arenas, parks, pools, marinas)
- Local Immigration Partnership
- fire services (prevention, public education, emergency preparedness)
- legal (damage claims, freedom of information, privacy, purchasing city-owned property, paying tickets for parking and provincial offences)
- city clerk (ward boundaries, licensing, registration of deaths, issuance of marriage licences)
- finance (pre-authorized tax payments, how tax rates are calculated)
- human resources (job opportunities)
City departments will be represented by tables surrounding the periphery of the meeting space.
Display boards representing each of the city's five wards will be set up near the entrance and ward councillors will be available there.
"It's an informal town hall opportunity to gauge the public and the community and get some valuable feedback," Vecchio tells SooToday. "They can take feedback from individual constituents pertaining to their wards."