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Some Franklin residents frustrated over access to municipal survey

The municipality of Franklin wants to know how its residents feel about the Parc Antoine-Labelle municipal park and its current infrastructure.

A survey was published online on December 1 asking citizens to express their opinion on the condition of the equipment in the park, as well as potential development projects including renovations to the baseball field and the installation of a water park.

The questionnaire follows up on a public consultation meeting attended by around 30 people on September 25.

The survey is mainly accessible through the municipality’s website and social media accounts, but also in paper format at the town hall. The way the survey is being circulated is raising concerns, however, among some residents, who suggest access is limited to those with an internet connection.

In an online exchange with the municipality on Facebook, Franklin resident Johanne de Luca accused the local government of ignoring those without internet access. “How do people who don’t have the internet know that there is an important survey being circulated?” she questioned, noting there was no obvious mention of the survey in the December edition of the municipal newsletter.

“For once we could express ourselves, but we can’t if we are not online,” she laments, before suggesting that if the municipality wanted the opinion of a maximum number of residents, the administration could have mailed the information to every address. “I found out about it by chance, which is not normal,” she adds, pointing out that decisions related to the future of the park are important as they will impact municipal taxes and fees.

Franklin’s director general, Simon St-Michel, points out that the public consultation process on the park’s redevelopment was announced during the July, August, and September municipal council meetings. An invitation to attend the consultation was also publicized on the municipality’s website and social media pages. During the meeting, it was announced that an online survey would also be circulated.

“The elected officials and administration wanted to ensure that the development proposals corresponded to the needs of residents,” says St-Michel. “The public consultation yielded a number of excellent suggestions, which can be found in the online survey,” he adds, before noting that, in fact, all the suggestions made during the consultation were included in the survey that is currently circulating.

St-Michel points out that 2,200 people follow the municipality’s Facebook page, out of a population of 1,844, and for those without internet, he confirms paper copies of the survey are available at the town hall.

He says citizens’ suggestions will help inform the amounts set aside in the 2024 budget related to improvements to the park. The survey includes cost estimates for the installation of a water park and for different options concerning the baseball field, which St-Michel says will only be considered if the municipality is able to secure government funding for the projects.

Members of the citizens’ group Citoyens avertis engagés de Franklin say they are planning to meet to discuss the possibility of contesting the results of the survey

Franklin residents interested in completing the survey can access the paper copy during business hours at the town hall, or by going online via the municipality’s Facebook page or website at municipalitedefranklin.ca. The survey will close on December 15.

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