Lac Carling X: A turning point?

The 10th Lac Carling Congress may have been a watershed event.It marked the emergence of municipalities as the project directorswho are taking citizen-centred service delivery beyond theconceptual stage – to a work in progress.

Answers have begun to emerge at the municipal level to questionsthat have plagued participants at Lac Carling for years: How can wedemonstrate a compelling case for interjurisdictional servicealignment? How can we get politicians and the public to payattention?

How can we develop structures on which to build servicetransformation? A groundswell of activity is beginning to build atthe municipal level.

Not all of it has been initiated by the municipalitiesthemselves, but the results are visible there at points of servicedelivery.

A program here, an initiative there – not enough momentum yet tobe broadly noticeable, but perhaps enough to show that a new era iscoming.

Among the signs:

A couple of projects are beginning to provide models for howinterjurisdictional service delivery can work.

Some of the technological foundations necessary for servicetransformation are being addressed collaboratively.

New service delivery structures are being created that aresaving money and attracting political support.

It was appropriate that these trends surfaced at Lac Carling X,where the theme was “Applying What We Have Learned” and where the35 municipal delegates represented fully one-quarter of the totalgovernment contingent.

Since municipalities began sending significant numbers ofrepresentatives to Lac Carling three years ago, they have let it beknown that they were eager for action.

Both formal sessions and informal conversations showed howmunicipalities are discovering their role in creating the edificeof citizen-centred service – not necessarily as planners orarchitects, but as the developers, construction crews and interiordesigners who turn concepts into concrete.

Lessons From Projects

Municipalities have been involved with all three of thebest-known interjurisdictional projects of recent years – BizPaL,the Seniors Partnership and eContact.

eContact has stalled for lack of funds and leadership, but theothers appear to be providing models that could be applied tofuture projects – and, significantly, are attracting long-awaitedpolitical attention.

BizPaL ( is apermit and licence identification system.

Integrated into municipal Web sites or portals, it givesbusiness owners and entrepreneurs a single point of contact so theycan find out what permits and licences their businesses will needfrom municipal, provincial/territorial and federal governments.

BizPaL has become the standard-bearer for interjurisdictionalprojects in recent months. No fewer than seven sets of co-ordinatednews releases have been issued since December 2005 about BizPaL,led by its creator and champion, Industry Canada.

Most of the releases have announced new partners in theinitiative.

BizPal is now offered by:

Whitehorse and seven other municipalities in the Yukon;Kamloops, BC; Saskatoon and the Province of Saskatchewan, which hasplans to expand the service to Regina and Moose Jaw; The Region ofHalton, Ontario, and two of its towns, Halton Hills and Milton,with the nearby City of Burlington soon to join them;