3 Things We Love About Wolfville’s Municipal Planning Review
Here at PlaceSpeak, we get to work with communities all across Canada (and beyond) on public consultation and citizen engagement campaigns. However, we’re especially enjoying what the town of Wolfville in Nova Scotia is doing with their Municipal Planning Review.
1. Bridging online and offline engagement
Instead of allowing the digital to replace in-person engagement, the town of Wolfville supplements their online consultation with a series of community events. From pop-up planning events around town to community dinners at the farmers’ market, Wolfville is providing ample opportunities for citizens to learn more about the issues and participate meaningfully.
“Our hope is that our events and other engagement tool reinforce our on-line engagement and vice versa,” said Chrystal Fuller, Director of Community Development at the Town of Wolfville. “We want our face-to-face conversations to stimulate online conversations and help inform the entire process.”
2. Multiple options for online participation
From asking questions on multi-unit dwellings to crowdsourcing potential locations for public art, Wolfville is providing a wide range of methods for online participation. Home to Acadia University, Wolfville’s large student population is shaping the tools which the town is using for community consultation.
“We wanted to use engagement techniques that reflected the way people, especially our university community, were communicating,” said Fuller.
3. Transparent and genuine community engagement
Public consultation shouldn’t be seen as another check box to be ticked off before proceeding. Wolfville’s efforts to bring in as many voices as possible demonstrate their commitment to transparent and sincere engagement with the community.
“It’s extremely important for Council that people talk with each other and that our documents reflect those conversations and community values,” said Fuller. “We believe there is great wisdom there, and we also recognize that our regulations have to encourage chance. If planning doesn’t have solid engagement, community conflict is created and we don’t want that.”