A pause in the visioning process
And that’s a wrap! After approximately 110 hours of consultation, more than 30 workshops, drop-in sessions, and pop-up stalls, 200 or more surveys conducted and a 14,000-letterbox drop, the first stage of Land and Housing Corporation’s community consultation for the Waterloo Redevelopment has (almost) come to a close.
In line with the visioning activity, here are some of the “keep-change-add” highlights.
The productive cultural workshops with the Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian communities highlighted the value of the bilingual educators, Mila and Denise, and the wonderful work they have been doing to support their respective communities.
Similarly, The Fact Tree Youth Service did a great job supporting young people to have their say in two workshops that generated all sorts of creative ideas to engage and support youth.
Informal conversations and opportunity for input at the Community Day on Waterloo Green was a great way to connect with residents who have been less involved and as a result had many questions and suggestions.
The mini-burgers served out of the food truck! Let’s keep them coming!
While prompting statements on various themes provided a good starting point for discussion, feedback from participants was that they often felt restricted in their response, limited in their options and guided too much by the facilitators. Future consultation should encourage in-depth discussions about the values and challenges of the numerous options presented.
There’s no arguing that the spruce-up of the Waterloo Neighbourhood Centre was much needed and appreciated. However, the reality for many residents is that it is just too far to get to. Future consultation sessions could be within residential buildings and aimed at engaging existing community groups, ensuring those less mobile have an opportunity to participate.
The biggest addition needs to be greater resident participation to ensure as many voices as possible are heard. In addition to increased resident engagement, it would be fantastic to see community members leading the process, specifically co-facilitating workshops or leading community discussions that explore residents’ views, concerns and ideas. For this to be a genuine process of community consultation, LAHC needs to continue to explore alternative ways of engaging residents through tenant-led initiatives that empower the wider community to get involved.
It was unfortunate that the youngest residents were not consulted, with no focused session for under 11 year olds. Considering the valuable input from the adolescents, it is a shame we did not hear the voices of their younger brothers and sisters.
If you were unable to get involved in this first phase of consultation, there will be numerous opportunities in the new year. Keep an eye out for an updated LAHC newsletter in December 2017 before another round of engagement in the first quarter of 2018. For now, though, enjoy a well-deserved rest before preparing for the magical chaos of the holidays.
We would love to hear your feedback about how you found the process. Send an email to Kira firstname.lastname@example.org or Thomas email@example.com or drop in and chat with Kira at The Factory Community Centre, Monday to Thursday.