Have a say in your neighbourhood

Pamela Scharback, Laurie Butterworth, and Alana Hryclik stand in front of the Carling Heights mural. CREDIT: LAURIE BUTTERWORTH
Left to right: Pamela Scharback, Laurie Butterworth, and Alana Hryclik stand in front of the Carling Heights mural.

Until Sept. 29, Londoners can submit their ideas for Neighbourhood Decision Making 2023. Neighbourhood Decision Making is a City program that offers community members of all ages and demographics the opportunity to decide how to spend a portion of the municipal budget in their neighbourhoods. The city grants a total of $250,000 per year, divided into $50,000 per city area: north, west, northwest, northeast and southwest. Individual projects can receive up to $30,000 in funding. Approximately 5,000 people participated last year.

This year, the City is focusing on increasing the number of votes overall and looking at how they can make voting more accessible. Londoners can vote in-person at Neighborhood Resource Centres and community centres throughout the week and will have the opportunity to vote on up to three ideas.

“We’re partnering with community and neighbourhood resource centres and libraries so that people can vote in their home neighbourhood, online, and over the phone,” said Jennifer Martino, Neighbourhood Development and Support Manager for the City of London.

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According to Martino, people get very creative and have a range of ideas every year. They submit ideas about improving natural spaces, recreational spaces, the environment, animals, and public art. Martino explained that a good example is the mural in Carling Heights, just off of Oxford St. It’s full of flowers and butterflies and has the name of the neighbourhood in giant letters.

“The whole idea of this program is that Londoners know their neighbourhood best. So, we want to hear from them, and then we will help them realize that idea. If the people in their neighbourhood agree that that’s what they want to see,” Martino added.

Community members also include students at Fanshawe College.

“They are an essential part of our city, and it’s a huge population. And when international students are in London, they are a part of neighbourhoods. So, anyone can put in an idea or vote for an idea in a neighbourhood that is meaningful to them,” Martino said.

“We have 20,000 full-time students,” said Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) President Stephin Sathya. “And over at Western, they have 35,000. So, you know, we make up five per cent of the entire London population.”

Sathya reminded students that London has asked them on another occasion for a feedback form regarding biking and how they could improve the bike lanes.

“This is very similar to that. It’s a good opportunity to expose them to the city’s resources and for the City to get some input from the students so they experience many things in the city and their neighbourhood.”

Sathya continued by saying that student input is precious in improving the city because students are here for “at least three years, if not more.”

Ideas will be accepted until Sept. 29. You can register or log in to through the City of London website if you want to present an idea. The voting period will occur from Nov. 13 to Nov. 18.