A three day training session this month provided volunteers with the tools they will need to carry the program forward.

A new view on solving disputes in Nelson

The next time you have a dispute with a neighbour, you could choose to call in a volunteer mediator

The next time you have a dispute with a neighbour, you could choose to call in a volunteer mediator from the Nelson Good Neighbour Program to help you resolve it.

Earlier this month, 14 enthusiastic and committed volunteers went through a three-day training put on by Transition Nelson Society and the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College. The intensive workshop included training in mediation techniques and lots of practice.

“It was good to be in a room with so many people who want to make our community a better place,” said participant Cindy Fillion. “I really enjoyed it.”

“Experiencing going through this process and resolving a conflict, even if it was role play, helped to form a bond and a connection with the other party and strengthened our relationship,” added Karen Newmoon.

The program is designed to help neighbours in the city of Nelson to become better acquainted and resolve minor disputes. A protocol is also expected to be established for referrals from city staff.

In addition to strengthening the social fabric and easing some of the burden on Nelson’s by-law officers, the initiative will develop conflict resolution skills among volunteers and referrals alike.

“We launched this program to meet an important need in our community, and help our community members appreciate our interdependence,” said Andre Piver.

Piver is a volunteer participant as well as a board member for Transition Nelson.

“With high energy prices, ever increasing demands on local government, economic uncertainty, and climate change affecting global food supplies, it is vital and richly rewarding that we can turn to each other for help,” he said

The Transition Nelson volunteers and the Mir Centre for Peace will complete the details of how people can sign up for mediation help in the next few weeks, and expect to launch the program in full by the end of May.

“The Nelson Good Neighbour Program is a perfect complement to the Mir Centre’s own program available to the West Kootenay,” said Randy Janzen, chair of the Mir Centre.

See transitionnelson.org. for details about when the program is rolled out.


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