In Spring 2004, when the Cornerstone Building was a boarded-up eyesore in the heart of our neighbourhood, the Fernwood Community Centre Society (now the Fernwood NRG) and the Fernwood Community Association invited the neighbourhood to the Fernwood Community Visioning Forum. Over seventy people responded to that invitation, and met for the day in the gymnasium of the Fernwood Community Centre on a Saturday morning in late May.
The results of those conversations are incredible:
- Buy Robin Kimpton’s building (now the Cornerstone Building)
- Community Cafe
- Generate business piggy-backing on the Belfry patrons
- Refurbish performance spaces
- Traffic Calming at Fernwood and Gladstone
- A comfortable and attractive square
Years have passed and the dreams that were voiced on that day on May 2004 are now reality. The neighbourhood we now inhabit is drastically different than the one that existed in 2004.
Neighbourhood Visioning Forum 2011
In 2011, it was again the time to co-create a fresh vision of what might be possible in this wonderful neighbourhood. On March 19th, over 100 neighbours and friends attended the forum and shared their hopes and visions. These ideas were collected in three cafes: Cafe Cultura (arts and culture), Cafe Verde (environment and sustainability), and Cafe Prospero (local economy and buisness).
Examples of ideas we heard over and over again (but were not limited to):
- More affordable housing to keep the neighbourhood vibrant and welcoming to a range of residents
- Creating a supportive environment for local business (e.g. local business association, resources for co-ops and social enterprise, mentoring networks, neighbourhood bartering system/Fernwood currency/Local Exchange Trading System)
- Food! Encouraging more local gardens and boulevard transformations, farmers market, resource directory
- Maintaing the friendly, independent, small-scale nature of the current commercial and residential mix of the neighbourhood (no Walmarts please)
FernFest brings thousands of people through Fernwood to bolster our local businesses. Since 2011, Fernwood NRG has planted the Kitchen Garden at the Fernwood Community Centre, the Community Orchard behind the Community Centre, runs the Good Food Box Program, and supports our neighbours running the Oaklands Sunset Farmer’s Markets. Municipal government has also passed a bylaw allowing boulevard gardens! Fernwood NRG has also purchased the property at 1310 Gladstone, in efforts to create a mixed used building that supports local business.
Take a moment to look over the graffiti boards printed in the Neighbourhood Visioning Forum recap below. Maybe there are some ideas that will inspire you to start a project:
If you would like to share more ideas, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org