Neighbourhood Resource Coordinators connect the City and its citizens
Where the City of Edmonton’s vision for building strong communities comes into contact with the streets in your neighbourhood, that’s where you’ll find Shauna Richard and Cameron Nattress.
“Our role is to respond to the individual needs of the community, and in my experience those needs come in all shapes and sizes,” says Richard.
Known as Neighbourhood Resource Coordinators (NRCs), Richard and Nattress help organizations and citizens connect with the City and with one another in meaningful ways.
“That can mean working on something big like helping a community plan a new playground,” explains Richard. “Or sometimes it is something simple like connecting with the right people to make sure the grass gets cut in a park before a big community event.”
Other times, more structured support is needed, such as working with groups on strategic planning or board governance.
It’s an important role, acknowledges Richard, as it serves as a foundation for community development in all the city’s neighbourhoods.
“I can often be found meeting in offices, local businesses, and sometimes coffee shops. I even have the privilege of meeting with people in their homes when that is most convenient for them,” she says. “I feel fortunate to have this level of trust relationship with the citizens I work with.”
Every neighbourhood in the city is assigned to an NRC. Under the City’s citizen services department, they also adhere to the City’s team approach, working with project managers and the City’s six revitalization coordinators.
The NRCs also bring information from the City back to the community, ensuring there’s a two-way line of communication between both.
“We are the City’s experts on our neighbourhoods. We often represent their voice,” explains Richard.
After working in the non-profit sector, she first joined the City in sports and recreation. Three years ago, she shifted focus to neighbourhood services.
Another of the NRC’s core roles is to stay in touch with community leagues, acting as a vital link between the leagues and resources available from the City. So they might get valuable information about programs, upcoming workshops, or how to do strategic planning.
Community leagues themselves are an important feature of this model. Starting with Edmonton’s first community league of Crestwood in 1917, community leagues advocate on behalf of their residents and also provide the City with valuable feedback.
By the late 1970s, the City began involving leagues in a number of planning and development initiatives. This form of citizen input was beginning to influence all aspects of Edmonton’s development, and the result was a City-created policy recognizing community leagues as an important partner of municipal government.
It has become a fully developed relationship, with volunteer league members working in partnership with the City on planning concerns such as infill development, the mature neighbourhood overlay, and neighbourhood renewal.
Richard’s assigned neighbourhoods include Alberta Avenue, Delton, Eastwood, Elmwood Park, and Parkdale-Cromdale, while Nattress supports Westwood and Spruce Avenue. They also stay in touch with the schools, social agencies, and other community agencies.
Residents in the Rat Creek Press area can get in touch with either Cameron Nattress or Shauna Richard by calling 311. Just give them the name of your community and ask to be connected with your Neighbourhood Resource Coordinator.
Featured Image: Cameron Nattress (left) and Shauna Richard (right) are our Neighbourhood Resource Coordinators. | Karen Mykietka