Calgary - In fall 2017, ISL's Community Engagement group, alongside The City of Calgary and Russell PR, received four awards for the Crowchild Trail Study.
On September 7, 2017, the team was awarded Canadian Project of the Year and won the category for Extending the Practice through Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation in the Field for the Crowchild Trail Study at the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) North American Conference in Denver, Colorado.
A month later, the team received two additional awards for the project from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Canada’s Silver Leaf Awards Program: An Award of Excellence in Community Relations and an Award of Excellence in Issues Management and Crisis Communication.
"In fall 2012, The City presented preliminary concepts for long-term needs of Crowchild Trail in a series of open houses to gather feedback from stakeholders and the public. We heard from Calgarians that they expected to participate earlier and more meaningfully throughout the study, before project decisions were made," says Feisal Lakha, Project Manager for The City of Calgary. “We learned from 2012 and did things differently with the Crowchild Trail Study.”
"When the project restarted in 2015, we were at a point of low trust with our stakeholders, notes Amanda Kaiser, Community Engagement Lead for ISL. "It was amazing to see the positive transformation in stakeholder trust and relationships that were built through the robust multi-phase engagement process for the project. The positive change was evident in the tone of conversations and feedback received from the beginning to the end of the project and it allowed us to collaborate with stakeholders and work towards building a plan for corridor."
About the Crowchild Trail Study
The purpose of the Crowchild Trail Study was to develop short-, medium- and long-term plans for an inner city roadway that provides a key north-south connection for the west side of The City of Calgary. Three key principles of maintaining and enhancing bordering communities, improving travel along the corridor and improving mobility across the corridor were used to guide the implementation and outcomes of each phase of the study. The six-phase engagement process for the Crowchild Trail Study was designed in response to The City’s new Transportation Corridor Study Policy. From 2014-2016, thousands of Calgarians participated in the study by attending workshops, open houses, community events and walking and bus tours; sharing ideas on community idea boards; and going online to provide input. At every phase of the study, City expertise and stakeholder lived experience formed a combined input towards the next phase.
One of the most significant achievements of the study, beyond the recommendations, was the trust and environment for constructive collaboration built between the project team and stakeholders. Over the course of the study, comments from stakeholders moved away from skepticism and anger towards cautious optimism and, later, enthusiasm and appreciation for the study process.
On May 8, 2017 Calgary City Council unanimously approved the recommendations for the short-, medium- and long-term improvements to Crowchild Trail. The plans balance the needs of communities, and all road and pathway users, help address current issues and challenges and accommodate the continued growth of Calgary.
To view the project video, click here.
Each year IAP2 aims to raise the bar in the field of community engagement by using the Core Values Awards as a means to encourage new approaches and innovative uses of existing ones. The awards go to projects, organizations and research which best demonstrate IAP2’s Core Values. This gives public participation professionals the opportunity to learn from one another and inspires them to continue to raise their standards.
About IABC Canada
IABC recognizes excellence in organizational communications at the international, national and chapter levels. It honours the outstanding communications work of individuals and teams and celebrates best practices that advance the profession. Silver Leaf is a national awards program recognizing excellent work produced by Canadian communicators. The program offers expert feedback and national recognition for strategic thinking and creative execution.
Marketing and Creative Services Manager