The tables have been turned at city hall as a new pilot project is handing over the decision-making process to selected Londoners, who will decide what to do with $30,000 of taxpayer’s money.
Residents in the Medway planning district and the downtown core are pitching ideas worth $15,000 each to enhance facilities in their community as part of the city’s Neighborhood Decision Making Project.
“Not all the answers are with elected politicians at city hall and there’s so many wonderfully talented individuals in our communities that finding ways to empower them and giving them tools to shape and improve the areas that they live in is why I wanted to contribute,” said Josh Morgan, ward 7 councillor, who pushed for community engagement two years ago during the city’s election process.
Ideas can be generated and pitched through an online application form. The money can be spent on a community enhancement, including such as a $5,000 community information board or a $15,000 basketball court.
The most important outcome for Morgan is seeing the ideas that arise in order to tackle community needs at an early stage. He says community engagement will drive involvement in other aspects of community decision making.
“It’s not necessarily about the ideas that win but the idea sin general,” he said. “There may be a number of great ideas that don’t get the votes to win but (city hall) may want to look at finding other ways to make it happen.”
More than a dozen submissions have already trickles in from the Medway area. Morgan says more than one pitch can be approved if the funding totals up to $15,000 along with other ideas. If successful, the pilot project could expand into other wards, allowing Londoners to dominate in financial municipal decision-making.
What others said:
Jenny Jay, third year Western University student
“I would put it into the arts,” she said. “We try to do so much for like public services and roads and all that but I think the community will best benefit form just getting the talent out there.”
Amy OKruk, fourth year Western University student
“I would paint some more bike lanes in the city because it’s very inconsistent right now.”
Bradley Metlin, Londoner
“I would build a really neat urban green space because I think that’ something that London lacks,” he said. “We have conventional playground areas and greenery but not innovative urban structures around London and I think that would really beautify the city.