Building A Neighbourhood Strategy in Peterborough, ON

Submitted by Christie Nash on March 18, 2015 - 9:12am

In February 2015, Peterborough Partners for Wellness invited a few folks from the City of Hamilton to share their process of building a Neighbourhood Action Strategy.  With almost 50 people in the room for the presentation, the energy and enthusiasm around the potential for building a neighbourhood plan in Peterborough was palpable.

A group of people chose to spend their lunch break discussing thoughts and ideas that emerged during the presentation and also share opportunities that are unique to Peterborough.

With 16 individuals and organizations putting their names forward to participate in future discussions about this potential in Peterborough and committing to action, Partners for Wellness decided to gather this momentum and host a follow up meeting to come up with some concrete action items to move this forward.

I was honoured when they asked me to facilitate this follow up meeting.  In my former job I was the Coordinator of the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network and one of our priorities was to establish a network of neighbourhood hubs.  Given this experience, I was familiar with the landscape of neighbourhoods in Peterborough, some of the issues that each neighbourhood faces, and of course, the challenges that come along with building new projects (gathering resources, communication, leadership, consensus building, facilitating dialogue, developing a vision and common agenda).  Now, in my position at Tamarack in the Deepening Community Learning Centre, I was delighted to share some of the Collective Impact tools we use, as well as share in the research I have been doing around neighbourhood stories in Canada and abroad.

We gathered on March 11, exactly one month after the first meeting and the momentum and energy behind this idea had not dissipated.  It was clear from the get-go that people are eager to move the agenda forward and start to create something tangible in Peterborough.  In the end, we have decided to begin this process focussing on asset mapping and at the same time gathering information and tools that might facilitate this process. (For more information on the outcome of this meeting, please see the attached notes).

Another meeting has been set up for April 15th where the larger group of interested participants have been invited to attend.  The focus of this next meeting will be on Asset Mapping, with the hope of developing a pilot project immediately.

It is exciting to be a part of this process from the very beginning and am looking forward to sharing more about this process through blogs as we go.