Why do Consultation?
“Pay now or pay later.” Greg Dewling (Capital Region Housing Corporation)
Here are some good reasons for all parties to invest in a quality process of consultation.
For the developer, land-owner or housing provider:
- Warm community relationships help tenants succeed. By way of contrast, anger and hostility from local neighbours works against their success.
- Winning community support pays off in the long run by raising a housing provider’s profile and respectability with political partners and with potential funding partners.
- Local communities provide valuable insights and ideas that help identify potential issues, and/or solutions and opportunities that may strengthen the project.
- Strong local opposition can be very costly. The local community cannot legally veto a project, nor are they required to give consent before a project proceeds. BUT… communities in Edmonton have shut down projects by mobilizing a vigorous and well-reasoned opposition. In some cases, this involved intensive lawsuits and appeals to funders and political entities.
For local neighbours and the community:
- Quality participation in the process (in line with the five heartbeats) builds credibility with eventual decision makers. Ideas, questions and concerns are much more likely to get a fair hearing, supporting better results.
- Participants gain an informed understanding of what the project proposes.Gaining that understanding strengthens a person’s ability to make a meaningful contribution.
- Participants can shape their community positively by identifying potential challenges and opportunities. They actively contribute to ensure the project is a quality design and integrated well in the local setting.
- Participation builds community, grows local skills, and deepens relationships with existing and new neighbours.