Picture Mount Dennis

Picture Mount Dennis aims to create a renewed vision for the Mount Dennis neighbourhood and leverage the investment in light rail transit (LRT) to support healthy and inclusive communities, and local business activity and growth, while also preserving the historical fabric and defining attributes of Mount Dennis.

One of the goals for community outreach for this study was to ensure engagement with the diverse communities that live in and visit Mount Dennis. The study team found that in past engagements, there were some voices more strongly and consistently heard than others, so they made a concerted effort to reach out to those members of the local community who had previously been harder to reach (e.g. renters). The team also engaged with the Local Advisory Committee and the NIA Planning Table to identify “community connectors” who were local members of the community, and connected with other groups such as Black Urbanism TO and local urban Indigenous groups to increase representation of harder-to-reach groups at community engagement meetings.

To measure the impact of their engagement initiatives, the project team used polls during meetings to evaluate if they were getting better feedback and identify if they were seeing different faces attending the meetings. One of the polls asked: Are you an owner, renter or visitor to Mount Dennis? Staff found this was especially helpful to gauge participation at the second community meeting. By using these polls as a measurement tool, staff were able to gather evidence around participation, especially to measure if participation of certain groups, such as renters, had increased due to the team’s community outreach efforts. Staff recognized that there may be some limitations due to the interpretation and perception of the wording of the poll questions, and the inability for phone-in users to participate. However, overall, they felt that the polls provided a good gauge of who attended the meeting, helped ground the comments received, and provided an evidence base for staff to identify where to focus their outreach for future engagement.

In terms of outreach, engaging with individuals in the Local Advisory Committee and at the NIA Planning Table helped the team to find opportunities to connect with groups that were underrepresented at community meetings. The project team was also able to reach a broader audience through site visits - they put up posters in the study area about the study process and to publicize the next community meeting. In doing so, they were able to engage with people on the street about the study. Staff also reached out to local businesses and Black Urbanism TO and asked them to share information about the study on their social media, thus reaching a wider audience. The team also reached out to specific organizations within the study area such as ENAGB Indigenous Youth Agency and presented at their monthly Board and Youth Council meetings to establish a connection with that group.


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