New Brunswick

Dieppe asks youth to vote on how the city spends money

For the first time, the City of Dieppe is getting youth as young as 11 to vote on how it should spend $300,000 of its 2016 budget. It's Dieppe's way of getting its citizens directly involved in city projects.

City offers citizens, 11 and older, to get a say in how Dieppe should spend $300K of its budget

Luc Richard has been working on a project to get Dieppe citizens to vote on how the city should spend its money. (Jennifer Choi)

The City of Dieppe wants children as young as 11 to have their say on how the city spends $300,000 of its budget. 

For the first time Dieppe is getting its citizens to vote on projects they want to see in their community, it's a process known as, participatory budgeting.

Judith Bourque, 16, played a critical role in getting the city to include youth in the voting process. 

"Getting our voice heard … it means our voices matter," said Bourque, a member of the committee that worked on the participatory budgeting program.

"For me, it's really important because it allows us to get heard and get something in return. And get something that is of interest to us."

Luc Richard, the city's director of organizational performance, said young people have different perspectives on what should be done in Dieppe.

"I think when we involve youth, they bring a tremendous amount to the quality of life," he said.

Projects chosen by citizens for citizens

Volunteers with City of Dieppe's Participatory Budget Project
Dieppe received more than 100 different project ideas from its residents and over the summer people volunteered to participate in workshops to narrow down the list.

The final list has 18 projects, projects that would interest youth, adults and seniors.

Some of those include a climbing wall at the Boys and Girls Club, a wheelchair swing at  École Ste-Thérèse, an off-leash dog par at the St-Anselme Rotary Park and new computers for the Dieppe Public Library.

The main criteria to vote is age and proof of residency in Dieppe.

Anyone 11 years of age and older can vote. Richard also points out that voter eligibility differs from municipal and federal elections. 

"If we have people with criminal records that can't vote normally ... if you are a permanent resident, you can vote if you live in Dieppe," said Richard.   

Each voter will rank their top five projects and on Dec. 5 all of the votes will be tallied and the projects will be ranked one to 18.

"We have $300,000 on the table," said Richard.

"The first [ranked] project that's there will take out some chunk of money and then we'll go down the list until there is no money left."

Voting opens on Nov. 13 and closes Dec. 5. 

Polling stations will be set up during business hours at Dieppe City Hall, the Dieppe Aquatic Sports Centre and Saturday mornings at the Dieppe Market from 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. People can also vote on the city of Dieppe's website.