Councillor Keith Baldwin. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Councillor Keith Baldwin. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Council Comments: Community Communication

Councillor Keith Baldwin

By Councillor Keith Baldwin

When it comes to useful public sector communication, I have a personal theory: E=MC2.

Effectiveness = Message X Credibility X Consistency.

Is it rocket science? “Relatively, Maybe!”

The Town of Creston ensures a stable flow of quality local information validating our processes in terms of public participation and community engagement. In the supporting policy, the town embeds the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, access, respect, and honesty.

We also carefully apply the International Association for Public Participation’s “Spectrum of Participation” objectives: Inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower. The result is that our administrative team has a thoroughly professional culture of connecting with Creston businesses, residents and other stakeholders having an interest in the positive evolution of our town.

In 2022 for instance, there was an impressive array of communication and community engagement activities led by the town, beyond what we might expect in a municipality of our size.

Let’s Talk Creston ( featured 28 engagement topics, with an average monthly visitation level of 750, with 500 readers typically viewing multiple subjects. This is a fraction of the overall traffic, and we anticipate increased volumes following a major site refresh planned for later this year. Exciting stuff!

Also on a monthly average: one major full-colour update publication mailed out to 3,550 households, one press release circulated, two public engagement events held (legislated and non-legislated), four print ads published in the Creston Valley Advance (estimated paid circulation of 1,900), seven ‘newsflashes’ issued to the nearly 700 opt-in service subscribers, and 90 radio spots placed on Juice-FM. Over the year, 220 Facebook/Instagram posts were made with a combined potential reach of 63,000 views.

Adapting the messaging and monitoring relative effectiveness of these diverse channels to ensure service excellence is where my whimsical E=MC2 observation kicks in.

While there may be substantial variations on how individuals prefer to interact with us (structured website, social media, video, email, broadcast, print, direct mail, in-person engagement, signage, etc.), there is certainly value to consistency. This involves a predictable pattern of engagement related to a subject/context, while also considering cost-effective support opportunities in other media and evaluating performance. To maximize involvement across a flexible range of circumstances, the core messaging must be credible: clear, attractive and engaging. I feel that the town has been doing remarkably well in its commitment to effectively create awareness and also encourage participation and feedback!

For 2023, we are hoping to add in some additional visual identity branding related to the 2024 Creston Centennial celebration, further energizing our regular content. The initiative’s community consultation team is already full of exciting ideas for Council consideration in order to fully engage the community. At the regional level, the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments ( will be holding its April, 2023 annual convention in Cranbrook, featuring a theme of “Kootenay Boundary Connections – Strong Together”. I am confident that Creston is already well-positioned to demonstrate the strength of its own connection practices.

Big smile, Team Creston! We’re very lucky to be here – and spring is coming soon… back to pedalling and paddling!

Creston Valley

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