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Historical Moment for Unanimously Endorsed Neighbourhood Strategy

Posted on March 1, 2017
By Michelle Drake

It's official. The City Council of Kitchener, Ontario unanimously endorsed an inspiring new neighbourhood strategy that allows residents to take the lead.

#lovemyhood: Kitchener's Guide to Great Neighbourhoods.

We're pumped! When they first discussed the strategy on February 13, Council had this to say:

  • "Truly impressive."
  • "It's probably one of the most important documents ever crafted by residents and staff in the past few decades."
  • "It's a historic night. This is going to impact lives for years to come."
  • "If other municipalities weren't envious of us already, I can assure you, once this gets implemented, they will be."

    Again, a huge thank you to the entire community for getting behind this strategy. Your passion for neighbourhoods makes us determined to implement every last item in the strategy.

lovemyhood_blog_march 2017.jpg

So, what's #lovemyhood all about?
Here's a fictional story of what the future can look like thanks to #lovemyhood

A woman who's never filled out a city survey or set foot in a community centre sees a Facebook ad promoting the City's "build-your-own-bench" program. That weekend, she mentions the idea to a few parents watching their kids play at the playground. They all agree their playground could use some more seating and are willing to help make it happen.

Having never interacted with City staff before, these residents expect mountains of red tape and complicated approvals. Instead, they discover a simple, step-by-step process that guides them along the way, not to mention a Neighbourhood Matching Grant to fund half their project!

City staff encourage these residents to reach out to a few more neighbours to get involved. They do, and discover four local seniors who rarely use the park because there's nowhere to sit and rest half way through their weekly walks.

So now the group wants two benches, one facing the playground and one close by, just off the path and under the trees, for the seniors to enjoy.

Next, the residents host a BBQ fundraiser at the park. The local neighbourhood association gets involved and lends a hand. The corner store down the street donates some food and drinks.

A fun time is had by all. Especially the family that just moved into the neighbourhood. They made some new friends and even offered to volunteer with the neighbourhood association - the first step on their path to belonging in Kitchener.

And now, as the parents sit and chat on their new bench, there's no one prouder of their park than those local residents. They'll be the first to keep the park clean, and you can bet they'll be back week after week enjoying the park, enjoying each other's company - and coming up with their next idea to make their neighbourhood great.

Learn more:

Community Building, Neighbourhood Strategy, Cities Deepening Community

Michelle Drake

By Michelle Drake

Michelle has spent the past 10.5 years working in planning related fields for municipal and regional governments. As a planner, Michelle is passionate about heritage conservation and community engagement. She believes in the importance of local identity and the value of local knowledge. She has spent the past 1.5 years as the project manager responsible for guiding the creation of Kitchener’s first Neighbourhood Strategy. She is excited to see the success of an inclusive community engagement process that reached out to residents in a variety of ways resulting in diverse and meaningful input to help create the Neighbourhood Strategy.

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