Wyse Society Presents to Dartmouth Community Council

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Come and listen to a power point presentation of development alternatives at a regular meeting of to the Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council on Dec 4, 2014 6 pm in the Nantucket Room, Dartmouth Sportsplex by the Wyse Society for Sensible Urban Development.

Read more about the presentation at HelloDartmouth.ca.
Download the Power Point at https://www.dropbox.com/s/bofaa40du83gkf3/CouncPres.pptx?dl=0

Howe St. Park BBQ !

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This Saturday July 19th, Wyse Decisions hosted a BBQ in Howe St. Park inviting neighbours to join us for a delicious BBQ lunch, sunshine, and some good discussion. This was the group’s first community action project and it was a great success!

Here are some highlights:

About 20 residents from the area surrounding the park attended the BBQ.

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Committed Wyse Decisions members worked hard to ensure that the everyone was fed. Special thanks to our chef (Doug) and sous chef (Ross)!

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Residents told personal stories about the neighbourhood’s past and expressed their hopes and visions for the future of the space.

We got feedback from every age group!

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We were joined by Dartmouth North MLA Joanne Bernard who engaged us in a lively discussion about how the future of the park corresponds to her ongoing commitment to the whole community.

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We invited participants to sign up to join Wyse Decisions or simply to be informed of our future activities and next steps. Introducing the community to the group was a valuable step towards strengthening the dialogue about the future of Wyse Road. The information gathered during this activity will help shape our next community engagement session.

We would like to thank Chater Meat Market, the Planning & Design Centre, Sobeys, No Frills, and the Parker Street Food & Furniture Bank for their loans and donations that made this event possible.

Photo credits: Sarah Ravlic

Check back for upcoming Wyse Decisions activities!

Wyse Decisions Update Summer 2014

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Hello all!

Read on for an update of the Wyse Decisions activities thus far this summer.

General:

  • The Wyse Society AGM took place Wednesday June 11th. The future steps of the Wyse Decisions working group were discussed for the upcoming months.
  • The group continues to seek ways to reach out to local residents and stakeholders to develop an informed and inclusive community planning strategy for Wyse Road.

First Community Action Project:

  • In late May we visited Howe Street Park (Howard Schultz Ball Field) to identify ideas for interventions before moving ahead with a community engagement session. This park revitalization project has been selected as a first action project to engage the community and work towards achieving tangible objectives that the Open Space working group identified earlier this year.
  • We are in the early planning stages of organizing an event in the park early this July to welcome residents to get involved in the project.

Howard Schultz Park Site Visit:

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We look forward to advancing this community action project as a first step towards strengthening the dialogue surrounding the future of Wyse Road.

Stay tuned for more information on our plans for this summer!

Session # 2 – Open Space!

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Hello Folks!

Here are the outcomes from our second session that took place on February 15th.

What is Open Space? 

Open space sessions is a form of engagement and a gathering of ideas into an “open space” to allow everyone to bring their ideas, projects, issues and dreams to the table. Open Space’s goal is to: form groups (action groups) to carry on these ideas, projects, issues and dreams into the future.

The Groups that Formed

A Expanding the Downtown Business Commission to Wyse Road

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The Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission (DDBC) is hoping to expand their jurisdiction to the Wyse Road commercial corridor. The represented business owners are diverse, and the DDBC bridges the gap between them and the municipal and provincial governments, RCMP, etc. Currently, there is a $250,000 levy within downtown Dartmouth, and business owners have a vote to ensure that levy. The DDBC is interested in proposing a potential $100,000 levy for the Wyse Road corridor.

The next steps for the DDBC should include: gaining interest among the business community, sending a letter to the CAO and clerk of municipality, which in turn will be sent to commercial business owners, and adding to the board (8-12 people). Another possible step should include investigating the possibility of a Switch event for Wyse Road. This could involve collaboration between the DDBC and Wyse Society to plan. It would ultimately act to change the perception of Wyse Road to a destination and not simply a corridor. Switch could also act as a catalyst for future Wyse Road beautification projects and active transport infrastructure.

B Redesign of Northbrook Park space to increase accessibility, aesthetic value, and usage

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The Northbrook Park, behind the Wyse Road Sobeys, contains a playground, a baseball field, and a pedestrian made path. It is mainly acts as thoroughfare, and as a hotspot for local daycares.  Currently, the park is not being utilized to its full potential. In recent years, it has suffered from several safety issues, including lack of adequate lighting, and attracting underage drinkers and loiterers. Furthermore, its not accessible to the community. There is a lack of proper signage, it is surrounded on two sides by chain link fence, and it serves more as a walkway than a destination. Lastly, it is lacking upkeep, leaving the aesthetic appeal of the space.

The primary community goal for the space is to create a safer, better used, and more aesthetically appealing community destination. This can be accomplished through the smaller goals of increasing the lighting and the signage, installing a more clearly defined path, as well as making aesthetic improvements like promoting better upkeep, removing unsightly fences, and installing artwork.

C Design Proposal for the empty lot next to the bridge to enhance community involvement and housing affordability

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This action group envisioned a multi-purpose large building consisting of 4 floors that aim to address for community planning themes:

Ground Floor – Community Involvement:

Detached spaces for non-profit organizations and activities on the street level

2nd Floor – Recreation

Large space that serves as a public exhibition space for local artists, children, and the community.

Possible events include, playing area for kids, art gallery, and diverse exhibitions.

3rd Floor – Housing

Create affordable housing for the low income population through efficient use of space, and low-cost, appropriate design.

4th Floor – Luxury

Full market price housing encouraged by the fantastic view of the bridge and harbour at high altitude.

Factors that will make this work:

High density coming from the bridge, street level

Employment opportunities

Accessibility advantage due to proximity to the bridge transit terminal

Location advantage for seniors and families.

Action Plan:

Contact the owners of the space (Murphy’s Family)

Meet with housing Nova Scotia

Staying in contact with the Planning & Design Centre for support and collaboration

D Utilization of empty lot space as mixture of community & garden space

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This action group’s central idea was to utilize the empty lot on Wyse Road next to the Tim Hortons as a Garden/Public/Green space. Their brainstorm of initial ideas included: fundraisers for planting trees, “stone” soup cooks nearby (possibly in churches) for the community and increased accessibility via a boardwalk / gravel access. Other ideas included more lighting, security cameras, fences and  domesticated shrubs, inclusion of portapotties, washing stations and a sandlot / toy area, and finally bike racks.

The group formed an action list of three steps:

1. Networking – sourcing needs, grants & money from local organizations and contacting them

2. Clarifying the group’s vision via a visioning session presented to the take action group

3. Background research into who owns the land, how much it is worth, what type of zoning is present, who will / has lease(d) it and how to make it publicly accessible

The group brainstormed a network list including members of the take action group, local MLAs, MPs, and the city councilor as well as master gardeners.

Thanks to all who could make it!

H

Session # 1 – Headliner and Asset Mapping!

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Hello Folks!

Here are the outcomes from the first session that took place on February 12th!

What would you like to see?

From our headliner activity in our first engagement session we asked the question: “If the wyse road community was to be in a  national or international publication, magazine, or newspaper in the next 5 years why would it be in the newspaper?” The most prevalent themes and ideas that came out of this activity were:

  • more outdoor recreation space & increased public safety

  • increased affordable housing

  • goals of attracting young people, diversity & multiculturalism, and family consciousness

  • community based action

  • a sustainable & healthy community with an increased access to local food

  • a community identity including a better image, iconic buildings, art & increased business and developmental landscape

What we have?

The group was then asked to brainstorm assets within their community that they felt were of importance when in the context of reimagining the Wyse Road community. The most prevalent ideas of these assets were:

  • parks, views and open landscape, open space (vacant lots)
  • community connectedness, resourcefulness and networking (i.e. the Echo Newspaper)

  • bus terminal and transit access, traffic access, schools and education programs

  • community organizations and gathering places, increases in new development, sports facilities, and employment opportunities.

What we don’t have?

In the same vein as asking what assets the community had, we also asked what they felt like the community was missing. The most prevalent ideas that came out of this activity were:

  • a lack of interested developers
  • lack of residential and commercial density
  • little to no walkability and accessibility
  • no positive reputation
  • no cohesive vision or strategy for the community

Masters of Planning Concept Designs

The Masters of Planning students presented their design concepts to the community. They presented their design concepts as large posters with an open discussion of possible redesign and reimagining of the community. Four large posters were put up and four groups formed around each poster. Sticky notes were provided, as well as pencils and pens to allow the community to draw on, and make amendments to, the design concepts. This allowed for community envisionment to be directly placed on the design ideas and concepts.

The main ideas that came out of this input were (each photo applies to each point):

  • Increasing building height not important to community, increase density instead

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  • Design for MORE green space

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  • Boulevard concept – make the community pedestrian friendly, walkability important

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  • “WE ARE NOT A CORRIDOR” – community does not like Wyse Road to be called a corridor

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  • Traffic calming and road redesign important

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  • Redesign to make biker friendly

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  • Big buildings = wind tunnels, not pedestrian friendly

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Session Photos

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Community profile posters

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Community profile posters

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Literature & community profile handouts

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Meet and greet!

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Introductions and session norms

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Introduction of Wyse Society

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Asset mapping and discussion

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Group discussions

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Meeting Updates – Session Two

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Hello Folks!

We had a meeting this past Wednesday (January 29th) where we ran through Abdul’s community profile of the Wyse Road corridor – looking at the demographics of the area. We then looked at some posters for the engagement sessions – critiquing and improving the various designs. Bailey went over the concept of asset based community development – looking at how to change spaces in the community into community spaces. Lastly we ran through the open space activity – in which leaders of a concept helped to guide a group harvest of development ideas in the community.

Here are some of the highlights from the session:

Abdul’s Community Profile

– “Can we compare to the rest of HRM in these statistics?”; “would be interesting to see how these statistics compare to the rest of HRM”

– “I would like to see green spaces added to the map”

– Compared this area to the Quinpool Road corridor… a similar structure of community

– “Increasing active transport… find a way to make that easier for people”; “…be shepherds of the area… we need to highlight the opportunity and also the loss”

– Changing the park by Sobey’s to be landscaped as an asset to the community

Rob’s Poster Critiques

– Most enjoyed the colour posters over the black and white

– We need to clarify what is meant by “open space” – this seemed like planning jargon, maybe change it to “open community”

– Make it known that this is a grassroots movement not associated with HRM

Bailey’s Asset Based Community Development

– “…this is a powerful way of discovering potential of the area, a series of small groups… there is a participatory aspect to all of this…”

– Look into the schools – they were used for adult education programs before but now these programs are cut

Open Space Session

Alternative to the planned 24 story building.

Alternative to the planned 24 story building.

Green Street community area plan.

Green Street community area plan.

Occupy the strip club - community space alternative

Occupy the strip club – community space alternative

These sheets show the outcome of the open space session – where people drew or stuck ideas concerning each topic.

Wurdle Word Cloud

Wordle II

Photos from the Session

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Have a great week!

H