The City of Enderby and the Splatsin Nation engaged in a joint transportation planning process that will benefit generations to come.
Months of preparation had led up to this day, but City of Enderby Assistant Corporate Officer and Planning Assistant Kurt Inglis could not predict what would happen.
He and other members of the Active Transportation Team were setting up the empty Enderby Drill Hall on a December evening in 2014 to discuss ideas for a safe, effective active transportation network for the residents of Enderby and the neighbouring Splatsin reserve. They had invited a wide range of community stakeholder groups to collaborate on how active modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, and public transit, can be better supported within the Enderby and Splatsin communities.
The session started at five. At 4:45 Inglis looked up from hanging a large map on the wall to see ten people step in from the cold. Five minutes later ten more people walked in. By shortly after five, there were 85 people including seniors, youth, politicians, business owners, band councillors and artists pulling off toques and mittens and pouring hot drinks before taking their seats at the tables piled with coloured markers and sticky notes. Inglis exhaled loudly – he hadn’t realized he was holding his breath.
“We underestimated how passionate people were” — Kurt Inglis, City of Enderby
Learning from the Process
Enderby and Splatsin are neighbouring communities located in the North Okanagan. Splatsin is a community of approximately 839 and Enderby is home to 2,932 residents.
Citizens of the region identified active transportation as a key strategy to influence health and well-being, while the Splatsin Band and the City of Enderby acknowledged the importance of active transportation in their Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP), respectively. This presented a tremendous opportunity to combine efforts and work collaboratively towards their common goals by fostering healthier, active lifestyles for residents and the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of both communities.
In 2013 Inglis helped form the Enderby-Splatsin Active Transportation Project Team along with Donna Felix, a Community Planner with the Splatsin, Tanya Osborne, a Community Health Facilitator at Interior Health and Phil McIntyre-Paul, the Executive Director of the Shuswap Trail Alliance.
This was on the heels of receiving a grant under the Healthy Communities Capacity Building (HCCB) Fund based on determining that active transportation was a significant health related issues throughout the communities. A process was launched to address the issue.
The team created a survey for residents who spent time engaging the community. “We made personal invitations to different groups,” explained Inglis,“we said ‘we want you there – you are an important component’.”
At the first workshop they asked residents to describe the routes they were taking and to show the barriers by marking up maps. “We had a lot of youth from the elementary and high schools. The students totally understand how to redesign the community so you could ride your bike anywhere…” remembers Phil McIntyre-Paul, “They totally got into it.”
“Their teacher came along,” said Pam Moore, an Environmental Health Officer from Interior Health who contributed to the transportation planning process. “They mapped the short cuts they were taking to school through back lanes and parking lots. It was fascinating. They were very engaged in the mapping process.”
“The students totally understand how to redesign the community so you could ride your bike anywhere.” — Phil McIntyre-Paul, Shuswap Trail Alliance
“People from Enderby were appreciating the walking trails that were on reserve and the possibilities there,” noticed Donna Felix. “After the workshop, I put the maps that Kurt supplied up in our band office at our health centre for people to continue to identify areas. People were very interested in it. With our community, healthy lifestyle is a big thing and people are really trying move towards that. People were very excited and thought what we were doing was a good idea.”
“The participants came up with strategies that could have positive impacts with a small tweak to existing infrastructure – they had an intimate knowledge of their surroundings,” said Inglis. “There was a range of different solutions from small adjustments to complete new transportation networks.”
Innovative Outcomes and Impacts
Despite growing engagement the follow-up workshop planned to identify priorities was delayed. The delay was not from lack of interest, in fact, there was a vast amount of input collected from the survey and first workshops. The number of hours it took to sort, group and compile the information was underestimated by the planning team. The length of time between the two workshops had to be extended to three months.
The second workshop was held at the Enderby and District Seniors Centre. Participants considered the strategies that were identified at the previous workshop and prioritized these strategies based on a number of community objectives. The planning team gained a stronger understanding of where best to focus limited time and resources in the implementation of active transportation opportunities. “There were very similar opinions coming from very different perspectives,” noticed Moore.
The Active Transportation Team utilized the outcomes of the planning process to develop the joint Active Transportation Plan for the City of Enderby and Splatsin. Their vision? To plan and collaborate on a connected active transportation network between both communities.
The Health Authority also provided input on the plan. “It’s one thing to comment on a long range plan but it is also part of our job to help resource implementation of their plan,” explained Moore.
The strategic priorities that emerged from the workshops are evident in the resulting plan. For example, youth input informed the cycle route strategy which suggested dedicated bike lanes and reducing traffic speeds.
The plan models connections between schools, neighbourhoods, centres of both communities, trails and a Splatsin-Enderby Recreational Greenway Circle. The team also identified operational strategies that will support these infrastructure changes such as better signage and ways to keep the paths free of snow in the winter.
“The biggest success was actively involving people on the ground level in the process,” confirmed Felix. Moore agrees, “When you have a whole lot of hands you can do a great deal of work. The more perspectives there are you will get a better product.”
Assistant Corporate Officer and Planning Assistant
City of Enderby
P.O. Box 400, 619 Cliff Avenue
Enderby BC, V0E 1V0