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City of Burnaby housing strategy process shines in national public participation awards

The public engagement process that supported the City of Burnaby’s Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing in 2019 has been recognized with a significant award from IAP2 Canada, a national association focused on excellence in the field of public participation.

The Canadian chapter of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) has named SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, which delivered the public engagement process for the City, as runner up for a Core Values Award for Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field. 

"Mayor Mike Hurley and the City of Burnaby embarked on one of the most comprehensive engagement processes on community housing that we have ever seen," said Centre for Dialogue Executive Director and Task Force lead facilitator Shauna Sylvester. "We are delighted to see this process recognized with an IAP2 Core Values Award. The design of the process was innovative and engaged stakeholders and citizens in unprecedented ways and it was grounded in the needs of people of Burnaby, not the physical infrastructure. Burnaby took a risk and has now provided a model for other municipalities to emulate.” 

Through the Your Voice. Your Home. engagement process, 2,600 Burnaby residents shared their ideas, concerns and goals for one of the most pressing issues within the region: community housing. At a time when online platforms and digital spaces showcase just how polarized communities can be, the Your Voice. Your Home. process captured the attention of public engagement professionals nationally for its creativity, contribution and innovation in the field of public participation. 

“One of the most inspiring aspects of the engagement process was the sheer diversity of voices included in our housing discussions,” said Burnaby City Coun. Pietro Calendino, who chaired the Mayor’s Task Force. “Your Voice. Your Home. provided an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to share their experiences, and I’m so pleased to see the process recognized by IAP2 Canada.”

The public engagement was unique in its ability to reach voices that are often not represented. For example, student ambassadors went out to the community to engage with those who typically do not participate in civic processes. And a day-long workshop on housing was designed to ensure participants reflected the broad demographic make up of the community.

“The Your Voice. Your Home. process was a key part of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing, which will shape Burnaby’s approach to community housing for years to come,” said Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley. “Together with SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, we created an inclusive process which ensured our actions will address the needs of everyone in our community.”

Public input generated through the Your Voice. Your Home. process was a key driver in the development of several of Burnaby’s housing initiatives over the last year, including:

  • Adopting one of the most robust and progressive tenant relocation policies in Canada;
  • Adopting BC’s first rental-use zoning policy which requires a minimum of 20% rental housing to be in all new developments, City-wide; and
  • Identifying and initiating pre-zoning of six City-owned sites for 1,150+ units of nonmarket and affordable housing.

Your Voice: Your Home. and the Mayor’s Task Force was also recognized by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities through its Community Excellence Awards on September 23, 2020.

The City is continuing to build upon the success of Your Voice. Your Home. this year with three new phases of engagement to guide the development of HOME: Burnaby’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy.

The Your Voice. Your Home. process stood out to the IAP2 judging panel for its commitment to consensus and clear goals, integration of community engagement and decision-making through a process that effectively deepened mutual understanding, and involved multiple strategies to keep residents informed of progress and outcomes of their participation.
Awarded annually, the IAP2 Core Value Awards go to projects which best demonstrate exemplary public participation.

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CONTACT:

Shauna Sylvester
Executive Director, Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
T: 778.782.7895    C:778-231-0715
E: shauna_sylvester@sfu.ca

Mayor Mike Hurley
City of Burnaby
mayor@burnaby.ca

ABOUT SFU MORRIS J. WOSK CENTRE FOR DIALOGUE:

Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue fosters shared understanding and positive action through dialogue and engagement. As a trusted convener and hub for community initiatives, we have engaged hundreds of thousands of citizens and stakeholders to create solutions for critical issues such as climate change, democracy & civic engagement, peace & security, inter-cultural dialogue, urban sustainability and health. The Centre actively connects the university and community partners to exchange knowledge and work towards shared objectives, and supports student success through the Semester in Dialogue and other experiential education opportunities.

ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY:

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

ABOUT THE CITY OF BURNABY:

Burnaby is a vibrant city at the geographic centre of Metro Vancouver. It has an amazing natural environment, a strong cultural mosaic and thriving town centres. The City of Burnaby provides facilities and services that support a safe, connected, inclusive, healthy and dynamic community. As the third-largest city in B.C., Burnaby is home to more than 232,000 residents (2016 Census) and is projected to grow to 345,000 by 2041.

ABOUT IAP2 CANADA:

IAP2 Canada is an association of professionals in the field of public participation (P2), who seek to promote and improve the practice in relation to individuals, governments, institutions and other entities that affect the public interest in Canada and around the world.

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