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Niagara Falls
Friday, February 3, 2023
HOLD HOLD HOLD: Editorial: Town shouldn’t leave out details

The town's administration should be careful with its messaging to residents.

In recent weeks the town's messaging has left out a few important details when announcing things to the public.

And while they may be legitimately trying to do good — there's no reason to suggest any ill will — it seems sometimes the town's messaging can be a bit deceiving to residents.

While for now it's moslty harmless things like making awards look more signifiant than they are, in other ways, it's not so insignificant.

Take for example a recent COVID-19 update at a committee of the whole meeting, during which chief administrative officer Marnie Cluckie cheerfully said NOTL's visitor numbers had been down on the weekend.

What she didn't mention was that half the weekend was rained out, so it might not have been a reflection of how many people are coming to town during lockdown. Though we all knew it rained, it is important information to provide during an update, if the goal is to provide an accurate picture for residents.

While it may seem trivial, for people looking to know if they should take a walk downtown for some exercise, it could be information they're relying on. 

And when the town appears to leave details out of its messaging, it could be seen it's an attempt to make the town appear as if it's performing better than it is.

In another mostly harmless example, this week the town patted itself on the back for winning most beautiful and sustainable tourist destination.

While NOTL might just be those things, the designation was voted on during a virtual meeting with 450 attendees, some of which were NOTL residents because the town promoted the meeting to residents.

Essentially, it was a stacked popularity contest. When asked, the town didn't provide any definitive data to show why it is or isn't a “sustainable” desitination — whatever that means.

And while the intent likely isn't malicious, and we can all use some good news, the town left out those bits of information when boasting about the win.

Maybe it doesn't hurt anyone, but it's a bit irresponsible to play things up as bigger than they are.

It's really the old adage of “the boy who cried wolf” — when you mislead people, they believe you less in the future. When you blow things out of proportion, it affects the way people react in the future.

We realize the irony, and we're not trying to blow this out of proportion.

But it's a slippery slope. At what point does leaving information out amount to misrepresentation of data?

It's more of a simple ask for the town to include the important details in its public messaging.

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