Change is not easy.
Especially if you’re suddenly faced with something completely different from what you’ve been used to for many years.
That’s what some community members feel when they learn about an upcoming infill development in their neighbourhood. It can be difficult to agree to a new change in a community you’ve lived in for 20 years.
As a leader in infill developments here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, we make sure to collaborate and communicate with our neighbours in the communities we build in.
The Importance Of Communication
“Communication is key,” says Paragon Design Build’s President and Founder, Nigel Furgus. “A lot of times, people aren’t receptive to change. But if they are informed as to what the change will be and how this change can provide value to their community, the tone changes.”
Infill housing provides plenty of value to the neighbourhoods they are built in. At Paragon, we make sure we talk to and educate the community about what those benefits are. We don’t just tear down buildings and put up whatever we want - we engage with our neighbours and make them our partners in creating a development that will fit well in the area where they live.
“The City of Winnipeg requires all developers to do community consultation, and we definitely go above and beyond in terms of implementing some of the feedback.”
When our 584 Gertrude Avenue six-plex was being developed, both neighbouring properties gave us feedback. One neighbour said they preferred four units, and another preferred to have it look like a house and remain a single family home. We also received some feedback from Councillor Sherri Rollins about how the community wants us to build within the neighbourhood’s specific characteristics.
Six different designs were created and presented to Councillor Rollins, the neighbourhood and city planners - the four parties, including Paragon, mutually decided on one design. In the end, everyone thought it was tastefully done.
“They appreciated that we took the time to give them six different designs. It took us an extra three to six months, but we felt that it was more important to work with the community to keep everyone happy and on the same page.”
Paragon Design Build: Community-Driven Projects
Community consultation is one of the first steps that we do in all of our projects. Here’s what our development firm does to collaborate with our community:
- First things first. We reach out to our immediate neighbours through an in-person visit, leaving flyers in their mailboxes or sending an email. Then we contact everyone else on the block. We may also set up a virtual meeting or a community open house.
- Feedback is gold. We ask our neighbours for their feedback through these various communication channels, which we summarize and send to the City of Winnipeg.
- We listen and incorporate feedback. We make changes to our project after receiving this valuable feedback. Whether it’s design modifications or any changes that the neighbourhood would like to see, we implement those changes and work with the community.
Consulting with our neighbours provides a win-win-win situation for all of us. It allows them to have a voice in the development and growth of their neighbourhood, and gives us a chance to build something that is tastefully done while keeping the neighbourhood's characteristics. Lastly, it helps us create a beautiful home for future tenants and homeowners.