People dynamics at work

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I've always had a fascination for words and their meanings and the part they play in everyday communications. But I must admit that during my first year at university, my interest was tested to the limit when members of our philosophy class spent the better part of an hour discussing the difference between "noticing" and "recognizing."

As time passed, I learned to appreciate the value of philosophy much more. It taught me to appreciate how others look at issues and why they react so differently to the same pieces of information.

A big part of what I enjoy about my job is the people dynamics, how people interact and react, and nowhere is that more evident than at public meetings, like the one I attended earlier this week about the proposed new roads in Waterdown.

It was easy to gauge by the number of people attending the public works, infrastructure and environment committee meeting (about 150) that the topic of where the new roads should go has generated a lot of interest and angst. As I listened to the dozen or so citizens, some of who took time off work so they could make presentations, I began to think of a variation on that old philosophy class discussion. Is there a difference between "hearing" and "listening?" I came to the conclusion that there is indeed a difference because I saw myself, the reporter, as being the one who hears the presentations and records what people have to say. Those assigned to the task of listening were members of the committee, city staff and consultants who were there to take an active part in the discussions, to listen to the concerns and hopefully respond to them.

In some cases, there was some listening going on and specific questions about development charges that will finance the new roads were answered. But in other cases, such as when speakers, Al Seferiades and Steve Oliver of the Parkside Drive East area, questioned the route alignment for the proposed east-west road through north Waterdown, it seemed like they were crying in the wilderness and no one was really listening. The two men favour an east-west road that takes a more northerly route past their neighbourhood rather than veering down onto Parkside Drive East where several households lie.

When Stoney Creek Councillor Phil Bruckler asked why the residents' preference couldn't be granted, the answer from Claudio Covelli, the consultant manager for the project, was at best vague. Covelli said that the route preferred by Seferiades and Oliver, which would have the road run eastward north of Parkside Drive before traversing Robson Road and heading southward to Dundas Street East, had been evaluated but did not come out on top of the preferred route, which would see the road run north of Parkside eventually connecting with it just east of Churchill Avenue. Covelli said the other route would run through an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and would also have social and financial impacts. But he didn't expand on what those impacts would be.

Seferiades and Oliver, on the other hand, have argued that most of the ESA can be skirted by the route they propose and environmental impacts can be mitigated. They also say the cost would be less than the proposed preferred route.

A chance was given and a chance was lost to clear up these inconsistencies. It must have been frustrating for Seferiades and Oliver to have their comments fall on deaf ears - or at least on ears that were hearing but not listening.

People dynamics at work

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I've always had a fascination for words and their meanings and the part they play in everyday communications. But I must admit that during my first year at university, my interest was tested to the limit when members of our philosophy class spent the better part of an hour discussing the difference between "noticing" and "recognizing."

As time passed, I learned to appreciate the value of philosophy much more. It taught me to appreciate how others look at issues and why they react so differently to the same pieces of information.

A big part of what I enjoy about my job is the people dynamics, how people interact and react, and nowhere is that more evident than at public meetings, like the one I attended earlier this week about the proposed new roads in Waterdown.

It was easy to gauge by the number of people attending the public works, infrastructure and environment committee meeting (about 150) that the topic of where the new roads should go has generated a lot of interest and angst. As I listened to the dozen or so citizens, some of who took time off work so they could make presentations, I began to think of a variation on that old philosophy class discussion. Is there a difference between "hearing" and "listening?" I came to the conclusion that there is indeed a difference because I saw myself, the reporter, as being the one who hears the presentations and records what people have to say. Those assigned to the task of listening were members of the committee, city staff and consultants who were there to take an active part in the discussions, to listen to the concerns and hopefully respond to them.

In some cases, there was some listening going on and specific questions about development charges that will finance the new roads were answered. But in other cases, such as when speakers, Al Seferiades and Steve Oliver of the Parkside Drive East area, questioned the route alignment for the proposed east-west road through north Waterdown, it seemed like they were crying in the wilderness and no one was really listening. The two men favour an east-west road that takes a more northerly route past their neighbourhood rather than veering down onto Parkside Drive East where several households lie.

When Stoney Creek Councillor Phil Bruckler asked why the residents' preference couldn't be granted, the answer from Claudio Covelli, the consultant manager for the project, was at best vague. Covelli said that the route preferred by Seferiades and Oliver, which would have the road run eastward north of Parkside Drive before traversing Robson Road and heading southward to Dundas Street East, had been evaluated but did not come out on top of the preferred route, which would see the road run north of Parkside eventually connecting with it just east of Churchill Avenue. Covelli said the other route would run through an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and would also have social and financial impacts. But he didn't expand on what those impacts would be.

Seferiades and Oliver, on the other hand, have argued that most of the ESA can be skirted by the route they propose and environmental impacts can be mitigated. They also say the cost would be less than the proposed preferred route.

A chance was given and a chance was lost to clear up these inconsistencies. It must have been frustrating for Seferiades and Oliver to have their comments fall on deaf ears - or at least on ears that were hearing but not listening.

People dynamics at work

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

I've always had a fascination for words and their meanings and the part they play in everyday communications. But I must admit that during my first year at university, my interest was tested to the limit when members of our philosophy class spent the better part of an hour discussing the difference between "noticing" and "recognizing."

As time passed, I learned to appreciate the value of philosophy much more. It taught me to appreciate how others look at issues and why they react so differently to the same pieces of information.

A big part of what I enjoy about my job is the people dynamics, how people interact and react, and nowhere is that more evident than at public meetings, like the one I attended earlier this week about the proposed new roads in Waterdown.

It was easy to gauge by the number of people attending the public works, infrastructure and environment committee meeting (about 150) that the topic of where the new roads should go has generated a lot of interest and angst. As I listened to the dozen or so citizens, some of who took time off work so they could make presentations, I began to think of a variation on that old philosophy class discussion. Is there a difference between "hearing" and "listening?" I came to the conclusion that there is indeed a difference because I saw myself, the reporter, as being the one who hears the presentations and records what people have to say. Those assigned to the task of listening were members of the committee, city staff and consultants who were there to take an active part in the discussions, to listen to the concerns and hopefully respond to them.

In some cases, there was some listening going on and specific questions about development charges that will finance the new roads were answered. But in other cases, such as when speakers, Al Seferiades and Steve Oliver of the Parkside Drive East area, questioned the route alignment for the proposed east-west road through north Waterdown, it seemed like they were crying in the wilderness and no one was really listening. The two men favour an east-west road that takes a more northerly route past their neighbourhood rather than veering down onto Parkside Drive East where several households lie.

When Stoney Creek Councillor Phil Bruckler asked why the residents' preference couldn't be granted, the answer from Claudio Covelli, the consultant manager for the project, was at best vague. Covelli said that the route preferred by Seferiades and Oliver, which would have the road run eastward north of Parkside Drive before traversing Robson Road and heading southward to Dundas Street East, had been evaluated but did not come out on top of the preferred route, which would see the road run north of Parkside eventually connecting with it just east of Churchill Avenue. Covelli said the other route would run through an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) and would also have social and financial impacts. But he didn't expand on what those impacts would be.

Seferiades and Oliver, on the other hand, have argued that most of the ESA can be skirted by the route they propose and environmental impacts can be mitigated. They also say the cost would be less than the proposed preferred route.

A chance was given and a chance was lost to clear up these inconsistencies. It must have been frustrating for Seferiades and Oliver to have their comments fall on deaf ears - or at least on ears that were hearing but not listening.