“Planning, plotting and doing stuff together”

Commentary in the press about Toronto’s municipal election has a lot of relevance for us in Innisfil, and for other municipalities. Two recent examples stand out:

“One thing that would make life better … would be for neighbours to start talking to each other more … talking, planning, plotting and doing stuff together to make our neighbourhoods better.

Together, neighbours can create street parties, renewable energy projects, open air movie nights, pizza ovens in parks, local food markets, garden sharing and just having a beer on the porch with each other.”

– Tonya Surman, Executive Director, Centre for Social Innovation

“It’s about nurturing a culture of civic participation.

I think one of the biggest problems facing our city today, people are not attaching any importance to their role or responsibility in making a great city even greater.

… cities that are much poorer than Toronto, with [fewer] resources, have done phenomenal management of public spaces, engaging people in what makes their lives easier, whether it’s transportation, walking, biking, parks, and recreation services.”

– Jehad Aliweiwi, Executive Director, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

I believe that a strong community voice is essential to steering Innisfil in the right directions.  This blog is my personal attempt to help motivate and inspire more local civic participation. Soon, the town’s consultants will be surveying residents for their opinion on how they want to see Innisfil change over the next 10 years. And perhaps that can inspire further dialogue here.

One of the projects that I’m trying to initiate is to harness this site as a continuing portal to the opinions of the community by posting periodic surveys open to residents of Innisfil. There are a lot of potential topics …

  • Businesses: What new businesses and services would you like to see in the new Alcona shopping district?
  • Farmer’s Market: Would you want one? What should it sell? What days and times should it be open?
  • Recreation: We spent millions on the Recreation Centre. How well do you feel you are served by this facility? What other programs, events would you like to have?
  • Industry: Innisfil wants to attract new businesses so that residents can work where they live. What types of business should Innisfil attract to let you work closer to home? Do you work at home? Could you work at home?
  • Transportation: what should the priorities be? How much would you use a bus service to Barrie?  Would you use a local neighbourhood shuttle service? Would you be interested in a car-sharing service? How important are bike lanes, trails?
  • Green Space: Does your community have adequate parks and green space?

Interested in knowing how Innisfil residents feel? The answers to some of those questions may eventually appear on this blog. But it all depends on the voluntary participation of Innisfil residents. I need people like you to subscribe to participate in these types of surveys.

As an example, I have posted a questionnaire to let blog visitors Rate Innisfil for Smart Growth – see ‘Add Your Opinion’ in the sidebar.

This is not intended to compete with the town’s strategic planning efforts, ‘Inspiring Innisfil 2020’. After all, your taxes are paying for this exercise and I encourage everyone to use the opportunity to express themselves. But you’re also invited to use this site to continue the dialogue and share it with your friends, associates and neighbours. Let’s plan, plot and do stuff together to make our neighbourhoods better!

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