Creating space for transformative conversations

City of Burnaby housing process shines with national award

October 01, 2020

Last year, the Centre worked with the City of Burnaby to host Your Voice. Your Home., the largest public engagement process in the Burnaby’s history. The project engaged over 2,600 residents to share their ideas, concerns and goals for one of the most pressing issues in the region: community housing.

Yesterday, the Canadian chapter of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) awarded the Centre Runner Up for their annual Core Values Award in the category of Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field.

The process was also recognized last week receiving the Honourable Mention for the UBCM Community Excellence Awards in the category of Excellence in Governance.

A huge congratulations to everyone involved! Celebrate with us and watch our video showcasing the public engagement process here.

Ideas, decisions and wrestling with trade-offs

The resident engagement included an ideas generation phase and a deliberative “trade-offs and solutions” phase. Over 3 months, 2380 residents were engaged in the generative phase which also included mailing postcards to every Burnaby household about the engagement, as well as 10 “Community Student Ambassadors” going out to engage traditionally underrepresented voices and communities in places they already gather such as bus stops, malls and schools. In the deliberative phase, residents wrestled with five possible approaches pitching 42 recommendations directly to the Mayor and City Councillors.

Integrating public and stakeholder engagement

A notable feature of the project was how it integrated two parallel processes. One process being the resident engagement, and the other being the Task Force process which convened decision makers and stakeholders. The intention was to help strengthen trust in the process and political accountability between decision makers and residents. Connecting the work of Task Force and residents ensured that the engagement maximized the value of lived experience from residents and the technical expertise of stakeholders.

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 a 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.

But the process is far from over. Much is left to be done and the City of Burnaby continues to build on Your Voice. Your Home. with three new phases of engagement to guide the development of HOME: Burnaby’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy.

Read the official award announcement here

To learn more about the City of Burnaby’s subsequent phases of work and to get involved, visit their website.