fernie5Community Engagement in Fernie: Fun & Fast Ways to Hear What the Fernie Community Wants in Their OCP

We held three fast, fun and creative days of community engagement to get input on the Fernie OCP from the Fernie community, staff and community advisory committee.

Thanks to the generous support of Freshies Café in downtown Fernie and the gracious attendance of Mayor Mary Giuliano, we held a community world café for people to chat, learn about the OCP, and share their ideas about the future of Fernie. A World Cafe is an interactive process allowing participants to dialogue on a fernie4number of topics, focusing on one at each table, and then moving around to different tables to address different topics. With a diverse and knowledgeable group of Fernie citizens, each chapter and the related issues important to the Fernie public were mind-mapped at nine different tables, matching and providing input into the nine chapters of the updated OCP.

fernie3At the World Café, the community also developed a map of Their Fernie, identifying and drawing important places, markers and references that are a part of what they love about Fernie. The community made a second map make of the changes they would like to see. Our team has transferred all of the world café information into an online interactive map, allowing the Fernie public to view the chapters, issues and overlapping issues, and to personally comment on the outcomes. The World Cafe process was an excellent way to get people involved in the OCP process who may not have participated in other, more traditional ‘open house’ type processes, and the resulting mind-maps provide a very visual representation of the community’s input into the OCP chapters.

fernie2We also conducted three different focus groups with Fernie stakeholders: the development and builders community; seniors at the senior centre; and environmental and outdoor interest groups and concerned citizens. Focus groups are very effective strategies for soliciting more in-depth ideas and content, and are useful for delving deeper into specific areas of concern. fernie1In addition to the World Cafe and focus groups, we also workshopped the OCP content to date with the Community Advisory Committee as well as the Fernie staff advisory committee. It was an amazing three days and we cannot wait to return to the mountain beauty of Fernie.


By Cari St. Pierre