Doable Neighbourhood Project


Project Objective

Our objective was to implement low-cost, high-impact pilot projects that contribute to Cochrane’s public space and active transportation networks. Collect ideas and develop resident support through an inclusive community engagement process.

Info / Share
  • Date: 2014
  • City: Cochrane, ON
  • Partner: Town of Cochrane
  • Funding provided by: Ontario Government

Cochrane is a diverse town of 5,340 residents situated on the edge of the northern Ontario wilderness. Cochrane is a small and vibrant community with many natural and cultural assets, including Lake Commando in the center of town.

Step 1 – Engage the Community: Between March-September 2014, 8-80 Cities spoke to hundreds of residents and stakeholders in Cochrane about the assets and barriers in regards to walking, cycling, and visiting the parks and public spaces in their neighbourhood. The engagement process included surveys, focus groups, structured workshops, interviews, and walking tours.

Step 2 – Identify Pilot Projects: After compiling and consolidating the data and ideas from local residents, 8-80 Cities worked with our local project partners to identify common themes and opportunities. These themes led to a timeline of prioritized pilot projects that were feasible and would maximize community benefits.

Step 3 – Implement Pilot Projects: 8-80 Cities supported community partners to navigate the municipal permissions system, engage and recruit local community champions and volunteers who would be integral to getting each project off the ground. In less than one year, the Town of Cochrane implemented three pilot projects.

Cochrane’s Bike Share Program: Northern Ontario’s first municipally-run bike share system was launched in Cochrane in June 2014. The program includes thirty colourful bicycles, donated by the RCMP and painted by local high school students, at four stations across town. Over 4,000 residents (80% of the population) now live within walking distance of free bikes.

Lake Commando Waterslide: The Town of Cochrane slid into summer by unveiling a free public waterslide at Lake Commando in early July 2014. The waterslide is centrally-located at Lake Commando beach, which is connected to the new bike lane network, and also hosts a bikeshare station.

Town of Cochrane collaborated with three local institutions to launch a Public Book Share program, which provides free books for people to borrow in public spaces. A local developer provided raw materials, Cochrane Scouts built the libraries, and the Cochrane Public Library donated books for this project that blends literacy with placemaking.

“This is one of those generational developments that you never saw coming but wonder how you got by without it. It brings people together and encourages our community to get outside and enjoy the gift we have in our way of life, while promoting artistic and cultural growth.” Jean Pierre Ouellette, Cochrane’s chief administrative officer.

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