Participatory facilitation inputs into land management by the city of Ottawa
In 1996, the City of Ottowa Council was working on two land management project: the Green way System Management Plan and the Open Spaces Project. When realised, the Greenway System will link natural areas, ecological corridors, hydro corridors, parks and communities, while the Open Spaces Project plans for protected areas. The input of the community was needed for both projects and a series of community workshops were facilitated to gain insight into the various stakeholders' concern for the city's open spaces. The goal of the workshops was to better understand which green and open spaces people value, why they value them, and what their visions were for the future of these spaces. The workshops incorporated community mapping facilitated by staff from the city's Environmental Branch. Participants placed great emphasis on community/citizen action. They felt that the community should be better organised to have a voice in planning, management and operations. The results from the consultation were used to support decision-making on the direction of the projects and were used to determine the social criteria and value of Ottowa's existing natural and open spaces. The authors conclude that upon evaluation of the methods and the results of the consultation, the City should use participatory methods more often in the future.