The Better Neighbourhoods Program is being piloted in the Woodpark/Woodroffe North area and will be launched City-wide later this week. The program is being run by the Neighbourhood Connection Office, which was announced by Mayor Jim Watson at the 2012 Planning Summit. The Office’s mandate is to help residents and community groups build stronger, more complete communities across the City. It will achieve this goal by providing tools and facilitation services aimed at identifying, prioritizing and implementing neighbourhood capacity-building and improvement projects.
The program is part needs assessment and part project implementation. Community groups selected for the program will work with City staff to identify opportunities to address shortcomings in their areas. This will be done through neighbourhood questionnaires, online ideas campaigns and public meetings. Residents will also be able to post, comment on and vote on suggested project ideas.
Specific projects, large or small, will be chosen by the community, and funding of up to $30,000 per community will be available for smaller projects. Larger projects will be referred to the City’s annual budget and priority-setting processes.
For 2013, three or four neighbourhoods will be selected for the program. To apply for the Better Neighbourhoods Program, neighbourhoods will need to meet the following criteria:
- Have support from their Ward Councillor;
- Have demonstrated volunteer capacity to work with City staff; and
- Are willing to enter into an agreement that clearly outlines human and financial resource expectations, roles and responsibilities of both the City and the neighbourhood organization.
Priority will be given to neighbourhoods that are not actively involved in other City planning initiatives. Applications for the Better Neighbourhoods program will be received from October 17 – November 27, 2012.