With the birth of the Community Representation Framework Task Force, The City is working to strengthen local governance, improve community representation and provide community organizations with better supports.
Published on May 18, 2018
With files from David Coroux
In my Great Neighbourhoods platform, I suggest that neighbourhoods are not just places, but are people. When we talk about people, what we have traditionally thought about were the people who live there. In reality communities are much more complex than that; they are the people who live there, but they are also the businesses and institutions that share and shape that space. When I talk about community institutions, I mean everything from schools, churches, mosques and temples, to not-for-profits, and of course, community associations and other organized community groups.
Where we've been, where we are, and where we want to go
If you look at the history of our neighbourhoods they have changed; sometimes physically, sometimes demographically. A great neighborhood is a place where everyone comes together, talks about where they have come from, talks about where they are, and then drives the change that makes the most sense for their community, rather than reacting to it.
There has always been a general tension between community associations, residents associations, and some organized groups which operate outside of the two that has led to the recognition that we are not as collaborative as we can and should be.
With that, the Community Representation Framework Task Force was born to get people representing different interests in a room, hash things out, and then propose a better way forward.
While there has been quite a bit of mischaracterization of the process that has led to unwarranted fear being spread about the future of community associations, I want to assure folks that as a sitting member of the taskforce, I am excited about where we are, and also excited to engage all of our communities. I believe all of these groups need to be able to come together, be supported by The City, and given the capacity and appropriate level of decision making authority. We have a good process now, but it could be better, and that's what this work is about.
I'd like to take this opportunity to give you an update on where we are and what's next in this process.
Where are we now and what are the next steps?
Phase 1 Engagement (completed) - summary
The first phase of engagement for the Community Representation Framework wrapped up at the end of April. The intent of the first phase of engagement with community members was to understand where community members and community associations currently are and to understand the current state of affairs o get an initial idea of the opportunities and challenges in including diverse perspectives in the review of planning applications.
More than 200 surveys were completed, with input from 97 community associations from all around Calgary, as well as several of business improvement area groups, resident’s associations and other community organizations. If you who took the time to participate and complete the survey, thank you very much. Two ‘What we Heard’ reports will be added to the Community Representation Framework webpage soon, under the ‘Links’ tab.
Phase 2 Engagement - purpose and structure
The information gathered from the first round of engagement helps the Task Force better understand the current state of community representation in Calgary and your views about the feasibility of a district forum approach. This was an important step that will allow us to design the tables and questions you will be work on during the second phase workshops.
During those workshops, participants will have an opportunity to explore and work through different thoughts of what was gathered through the first phase of engagement. This is a complex topic and we need representatives from all organizations to come and work collectively with other members of community to generate ideas, discuss opportunities and problem solve in a collaborative environment with workshops running from June 5 to June 14.
If you're organization has not yet received the invitation, please contact David Couroux at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information to get involved.
When all of the workshops are completed a final report will be created on everything we heard.
This will be available on the project website, and that information will be used by the Community Representation Framework Task Force as they prepare to make recommendations to City Council later this year in 2018.
If you're looking for more background, please read the Community Representation Framework Information Brief and the two ‘What we Heard’ reports that will be coming soon, under the ‘Links’ tab on the Community Representation Framework webpage.
I am proud to be part of this work, unafraid of tackling our challenges in an uncertain future, and excited to direct that change to make our neighbourhoods the best they can be.
I look forward to working with people dedicated to the best possible future of Calgary and ensuring that we create neighbourhoods that thrive and are prosperous for a long time.