Public Consultation Advocacy
How can Communities conduct Public Consultation Processes?

Perhaps it is time that improvements be made to Public Consultation Processes (PCP). For those of you who would like to see PCPs work well, perhaps we can make these grow.

Already we have seen examples of how PCPs can be conducted so that people become informed. The Qualicum School District Facilities Review Information Sessions(QSDFRIS) were started to pick up where the School District left off, after having proposed to close the only high school in Qualicum Beach.

This high school has been open since 1983 with lower enrolment than the forecast low in 2019.

This and other important information needs to be addressed.

Community involvement in coming up with solutions to challenges can be very beneficial. For example, realistic, viable alternatives to permanent school closures can be developed.

Unfortunately, after proposing to close a school, the authorities moved to shorten the PCP by half, to just 60 days.

Since there are serious problems with the way authorities handle PCPs, communities may need to establish how a fair PCPs are conducted.

Perhaps representatives from the communities involved could provide an alternative to the authorities imposed PCP methods which could be self serving and unfair and inadequate.

Perhaps, a fair and adequate PCP could be implimented and conducted by representatives from the communities involved.

Also, may I suggest the establishment of a not for profit society to help impliment fair PCP's. A tentative name would be "Public Consultation Advocacy" (PCA). Here is a draft proposal addressing goals and principles.


The goal is to help improve decision making by providing examples of fair and adequate public consultation and the two-way exchange of information and opinions.

PCPs must include access to information used in decision making.

Improving decision making includes access to information used in plans to open or close public facilities.

For example, PCAdvocates support efforts of communities requesting and analyzing information needed when responding to proposals to close schools. Support includes helping communities gather the necessary information as well as helping with analysis.

School Closure Public Consultation Processes

Currently, concerned citizens are involved in helping provide and analyze information needed in Facilities Reviews for communities in BC's School Districts.

PCAdvocates share the goal of providing the best education experience for all students by advocating public consultation and the two-way exchange of information and opinions.

The best education experience includes ensuring that students learn about proper public consultation processes, with full information disclosure and analysis.

Also, PCAs agree with the ...

BC School Opening and Closure Order (authorized by the BC School Act), Section 5, requiring that Public Consultation Processes include:

(a) a fair consideration of the community’s input and adequate opportunity for the community to respond to a board’s proposal to close the school permanently;

(b) consideration of future enrolment growth in the district of persons of school age, persons of less than school age and adults; and

(c) consideration of possible alternative community use for all or part of the school.


PCAdvocates recommend that Public Consultation Processes to address proposals to close schools permanently be a minimum of one year after all necessary information has been made available.

Access to information allows people to examine the data for verification and also to better understand the strengths and weaknesses in the methods and models.

Therefore, it is necessary that all the information, data and modelling methods, used in the Facilities Review be made available to the public, including all the information used by consultants.

Also, the data must be made available to the public in the same format used by the consultant(s). For example, data will be made available in machine readable formats for spreadsheets such as .csv or .xls. The .pdf format only is not acceptable.

It may be the case that not all important information was used in the Facilities Review. For example, only 5 years of historical data may have been used, limiting historical knowledge. Therefore, requests for information not included in the Facility Review must be accommodated. For example, requests for historical data prior to the five years used must be made available.

Artificial limitations can not be imposed. For example, the administration staff cannot stipulate that individuals with questions are required to be a part of a focus group and told that the requested information will only be provided if the focus group members agree.

Answers must be clear, and well explained. Partial answers with poor qualification must be corrected. For example, historical data with differences in labelling between years must be explained.

After the information has been made available and clearly explained, then the Public Consultation Process must allow adequate opportunity for the community to participate in developing proposals of possible alternative community use for all or part of the school.

Since this would take School District staff and Board members many months if not years to do themselves (we are often told by staff that opening schools takes many years) the community will have a minimum of one year to present proposals in order to have adequate opportunity to respond.

All questions must be answered. For example, requests for all the information (data and modelling methods) must be made available before the Public Consultation Process can be considered to have begun.

Attempts by authorities to change the PCP once it has started are not allowed. Changes to the PCP must be made an election issue.

Help your community bring the exchange of information back into decision making.

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