The Friendship Gate, an example of public space in Nelson, was created five years ago to mark the 30th anniversary of Nelson’s sister city relationship with Izu-shi, Japan. It is located in Cottonwood Falls Park. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

The Friendship Gate, an example of public space in Nelson, was created five years ago to mark the 30th anniversary of Nelson’s sister city relationship with Izu-shi, Japan. It is located in Cottonwood Falls Park. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson at its Best plans Park Bench Conversations events

A simple toolkit is available that will guide participants through the process

Submitted by Nelson at its Best

Did you miss the May 30 Exploring Public Space event at the Civic Theatre and on Zoom?

No problem!

This event, attended by about 90 people altogether, was just the first part of our ongoing community exploration of public space and what it means to us. The thoughtful and inspiring video segments shown at the event can be found here: https://bit.ly/3NgR7yH.

The next phase of the community involvement around public space is for you to weigh in through small neighbourhood discussions. We’re calling them Park Bench Conversations, as we encourage people to hold them outside, either in a public space, in a backyard or on a deck. They are another way to learn more, get involved, and have your voice heard.

“The conversations are built around four questions that we are asking everyone to reflect upon and answer,” says George Chandler with Nelson at its Best. “One question will provide an opportunity to both celebrate successes and acknowledge shortcomings related to public space, which is important in moving forward. But we will also be exploring what equitable access means; our personal vision of public space; and what we can do to contribute—individuals, neighbourhoods, local government, businesses, and community organizations.”

You don’t need to be a trained facilitator or event planner to host a conversation. A simple, practical toolkit is available that will guide you through the process. There is also a contact email and phone number if you want any further guidance or tips.

Please consider helping to organize or host one of these gatherings with 6-8 of your neighbours, friends or family — or at your workplace or place of worship.

“This opportunity could be a timely excuse to have an outdoors neighbourhood gathering as the warmer weather arrives,” says Tracey Therrien with Nelson Public Library. “These public space conversations with neighbours and friends can be fun social gatherings that also help Nelson become an even healthier, more liveable city.”

If you are interested, you can pick up a Host/Facilitator Kit at the Nelson Public Library or contact George Chandler (250) 354-8227 or georgechandler07@gmail.com.

For more information, contact George Chandler (250) 354-8227 georgechandler07@gmail.com