Work is just beginning on a Kirkendall neighbourhood project. We’re calling it Know & Grow Your Neighbourhood, Kirkendall – at least for the moment. We’re doing this work with the support of the Kirkendall Neighbourhood Association, our ward Councillor, Brian McHattie, and hopefully you! The idea is to bring people in our neighbourhood together to create a resident-led action plan that will help shape our community. Before we start, we want to fi nd out what other people think about the neighbourhood and if people – like you – want to be involved. This blog shares our proposed process. Get involved and get to know and grow your neighbourhood!
The City of Hamilton develops land use plans for neighbourhoods called “Secondary Plans”. These Secondary Plans are adopted in the City’s Official Plan and are the basis for making decisions about land use changes. This neighbourhood has not had updates to its Secondary Plan since 1982 and there is no intention to do so in the near future. Yet there have been big changes in how the land in the neighbourhood is being used. The last couple of years have seen new residential developments, changes in the types of businesses on Locke Street, changes to parking and traffic, and big infrastructure renovations. Some of these changes are felt to be positive and some are felt to create adverse impacts on the neighbourhood. When we don’t like what is going on, we often do not get involved until the planning process has reached a point where the only means of infl uence left are formal, lengthy, expensive hearings that most of us cannot afford in either time or money. The process also pits neighbour against neighbour. There is a better solution.
A Neighbourhood Strategic Plan
We, as citizens, have an opportunity to provide input and infl uence the decisions our elected officials make on our behalf. We can bring the community together to create a shared vision. This shared vision can help the City understands what’s important to us when they have to make decisions about our neighbourhood. Otherwise, we risk leaving important decisions to City staff who may not have a good understanding of what is important to those who live, work, and play in our neighbourhood. This shared vision can also help us reconcile the different interests in our neighbourhood – encouraging a diff erent way of being neighbours together.
What the Neighbourhood Stands to Gain
Great initiatives are underway in Kirkendall. Let’s share what’s happening and build on our strengths. If we bring the neighbourhood together, we can benefit from the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom that already lives, works, and plays here. If nothing else, this process will help us better understand:
the Kirkendall neighbourhood – where has it been? what’s infl uenced what it looks like today? our demographics i.e. who lives here? why?
what we value about the neighbourhood and how can we enhance those things we value
the trends that we’re seeing and which ones are important to address in the short and long term
how the City makes decisions about Kirkendall.
We also hope that the project will result in:
a clear community-based vision for Kirkendall
neighbourhood objectives and actions
an inclusive process for making decisions together and for working with the City and others to resolve issues in a constructive way
an opportunity for people to meet and network and collectively work on issues and opportunities that they feel are important.
Since this is a community driven project we can be as creative as we want to be and our schedule can be defined by all of us. We want the process to be fun and social and bring people together to make a difference. We want to involve as many people and types of people as possible. We want to develop a sustainable community initiative that can be a model for other communities and neighbourhoods. Your participation is important to help figure out how to make it fun, how to get people involved, and how to make it sustainable.