Vision Critical, City of Surrey Partner to Create City Speaks, the Future of Public Consultation

Vancouver, British Columbia – April 3, 2013 – Vision Critical, the world’s leading provider of insight community technologies is pleased to partner with the City of Surrey, BC, in a first-of-its-kind agreement bringing citizens the next generation of civic engagement and public consultation.

As of today, every resident over the age of 16 and every business owner in Surrey is invited to join the City Speaks online community. Community members will participate in online surveys and discussions, offering feedback to the City on the issues they care about most, via their computers, tablets or smart phones.

“Everything about the way we communicate with our friends, families, employers and businesses is changing and evolving. Now it’s time to change the way we communicate with our cities,” says Shachi Kurl, Director of Communications, Vision Critical.

The City Speaks online community will be powered by Vision Critical software, enabling busy working families in Surrey to participate in a continuous, ongoing community engagement, on their time and on their terms.

“The information they share will help their local government determine priorities, guide consultation, and ensure decisions are based on the best, most reflective community feedback available,” says Kurl.

“We are proud to partner with Vision Critical on this initiative. The City of Surrey is the first municipality in North America to undergo such a comprehensive and long-term online consultation process,” says Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. 

“We believe that connecting and engaging our citizenry is the cornerstone of our service.  I invite people to join our City Speaks online community, which offers people new opportunities to provide input and participate in interactive discussions that will help shape the future of our city,” she says.

According to a survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion in March 2013, 70 per cent of British Columbians polled say they wish it was easier to make their views heard to their local governments.

Online consultation will bolster existing public engagement methods such as town hall meetings and open houses, while spending public dollars efficiently. The City of Newcastle Australia has saved more than $840,000 AUD using Vision Critical’s technology through its Voice of Newcastle online community.

About CitySpeaks: Surrey’s City Speaks online community is open to anyone living in Surrey over the age of 16, or anyone who owns a business in the city. To join, go to www.surrey.ca/cityspeaks