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Great Neighbourhoods: Shaping the Future of Where We Live. Together.

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  • Great Neighbourhoods: Shaping the Future of Where We Live. Together.

    It’s true that people often move to Edmonton for work but more often than not it’s the sense of community they find here, the connections they make, that keeps them here. It’s a common theme of the stories being shared through Edmonton Stories.

    We have built our city on community spirit and through the City of Edmonton’s Great Neighbourhoods initiative that spirit will continue to shape the future of where we live.

    Great Neighbourhoods is building on the good work already happening in neighbourhoods by:
    • improving collaboration with other organizations and among City departments to deliver services in neighbourhoods more efficiently
    • conducting comprehensive neighbourhood planning that takes everything from roads and transits to parks and social services into account
    • enhancing two-way communication with residents and supporting their efforts to create the place they want their neighbourhood to be
    • investing in targeted capital projects of varying sizes that foster outstanding neighbourhoods.

    Great Neighbourhoods is administered through the Office of Great Neighbourhoods and as Director, it’s my job to ensure all of this happens. I’m committed to doing all that I can to make Edmonton one of the most livable cities in Canada, and we know that neighbourhoods are central to achieving that goal, one of six outlined in the City of Edmonton’s Strategic Plan.

    In many respects, Great Neighbourhoods resembles the fantastic work that’s being done in other leading cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Baltimore and Seattle. The Great Neighbourhoods team studied the best practices of these cities and incorporated many of them in Edmonton’s overall approach.

    Great Neighbourhoods is being championed by two General Managers – Linda Cochrane (Community Services) and Gary Klassen (Planning and Development). The Great Neighbourhoods Steering Committee, which provides high-level direction, has representatives from every City department, along with Edmonton Police Service and Edmonton Public Libraries.

    Six Great Neighbourhoods District Coordinators will help coordinate, streamline and facilitate the delivery of municipal services, programs and projects within their assigned districts. Each district incorporates two of Edmonton’s 12 electoral wards.

    The District Coordinators will:
    • help coordinate the delivery of City services, programs and projects across departmental lines within their districts;
    • work with departments to find gaps in existing City services, programs and projects, and identify opportunities to improve their delivery; and
    • develop and maintain relationships with grassroots volunteers, community leagues, non-profit organizations, other orders of government, and other community stakeholders within their districts.

    The Office of Great Neighbourhoods is not out to duplicate the great work the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) and many other organizations are already doing in Edmonton. Rather, it will work with residents and all community stakeholders to make our city an even better place in which to live. As I see it, there is more than enough work for everyone.

    As I noted earlier, another of Great Neighbourhoods’ goals is to improve communications between the City and Edmontonians. We have been leading the City’s efforts to enhance the City of Edmonton’s website so that residents can more easily find the information they want about services and programs in their neighbourhoods. In the first phase, these enhancements include a new section dedicated to neighbourhoods, a 311 ONLINE city service listing and a refreshed ‘For Residents’ landing page.

    There’s one other Office-led effort I want to tell you about – something called neighbourhood engagement. The City is working to bring grassroots volunteers, individual community leagues, schools, libraries and other community stakeholders together to collaborate on projects that can improve neighbourhoods across the city. I share the perspective of Michael Janz, who said in his August 21 C2E guest column, “The drive to bring people together is as strong as ever; people just want to learn ‘how’.”

    To this end, the Office is collaborating with Jim Diers, a community engagement expert and educator from Seattle, to help residents become more involved in making their neighbourhoods the places they want them to be. You are invited to attend one of three “Community Evenings” with Jim:
    • EAST Community Evening on November 17, 2009 – 5 to 9 p.m. at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre (11050 – 90 St.). To register, call 780-442-4972 or send an email to [email protected]
    • WEST Community Evening on November 18, 2009 – 5 to 9 p.m. at the Mayfield Inn & Suites, Palisades Ballroom (16615 – 109 Ave.). To register, call 780-442-2974 or send an email to [email protected]
    • SOUTH Community Evening on November 19, 2009 – 5 to 9 p.m. at the Palace Banquet Hall (3223 Parsons Rd.). To register, call 780-442-4847 or send an email to [email protected]

    People are encouraged to attend the event closest to their neighbourhood. Pre-registration is highly recommended because seating is limited and food needs to be ordered ahead of time. Dinner will be provided at no charge. Free parking is available.

    I plan to conduct a one-day forum on Connect2Edmonton in the next month or so. This will give you an opportunity to ask me and my team questions about the Office of Great Neighbourhoods and some of the work we’re doing.

    In the meantime, I welcome your comments about what the City is doing well and what it could be doing better. I would also like to hear about ways in which the Office could work with community stakeholders. There is no monopoly on good ideas, so your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Stephane Labonne

    [email protected]
    Last edited by NoreneS; 17-11-2009, 10:34 AM.

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