Friday, September 15, 2006

Another town council meeting

I went down to see the Town Council featured in the news recently along with the SPCA and AVA. It was in response to all the recent news about the trapping in the papers.

We spoke with them about the situation and said that it was very important to remember that this was not a case of residents versus the town council, but of working together to solve complaints. We cleared up some misconceptions on their part - ie that volunteers might bring cats in from other areas, that feeding irresponsibly was okay, that cats going upstairs are cats from downstairs.

There was also some miscommunication they said, because they thought that a few volunteers who had gone to see them in May spoke for all the residents, but they did not. This meant that other residents who wanted to speak with them were turned away. This of course made it difficult for the other residents to contact the town council, and meant that they felt that they could not have recourse to the town council. I told them that it was important to make it known that the town council would listen to every resident - just as they would to every complainant. They in turn were unhappy with the press coverage so we had a discussion about that and how some residents are still unhappy with the town council.

We also mentioned the importance of mediation. Dinesh from SPCA also pointed out it was important to explain to complainants about the programme and that it was important HOW this was put across to complainant too.

In the end, it seems that they they are going to ask CWS to be the go-between the residents and the TC. That way if they have a complaint, they'll ask us to contact the residents involved. I pointed out that we were fine with it as long as the residents are, for some residents may want to work with us for whatever reason.

So far, it seemed a pretty positive meeting. They'll be arranging to meet the caregivers shortly.

On the way out, we were speaking to the AVA and SPCA representatives about how all of us had gotten angry phone calls from residents of this town council. Someone mentioned they got an expletive laden phone call from an angry resident. Another said that they were scolded over the phone by another person from the area.

Now the town council is talking of flyering the area - and they asked if we can translate our Mediation flyer into Tamil as well. We've actually found that the Indian residents we've met can all read English, which is why we've never translated it into Tamil. Logistically as well, we've never had anyone offer to translate into Tamil. So here's my next request - anyone can help do a Tamil translation?

4 Comments:

Blogger vegancat said...

**Applause***
Well done, CWS, SPCA and AVA!

15/9/06 3:03 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

The works not over yet - and most of it will be borne by the caregivers!

15/9/06 3:06 PM  
Blogger ah Jo said...

The thing with gahmen, is that doesn't matter if most indians can read english. That just don't want to let the major race felt left out (or to have a chance to complain).

15/9/06 3:17 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Ah Jo - that's fair enough and we certainly don't mean to exclude anyone. From a purely practical level though we don't have anyone who has offered to translate into Tamil before, and as I said, I haven't found this to be a problem whenever we mediate. Also obviously, it's more expensive the more languages we print in !

15/9/06 3:26 PM  

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