Learning from neighbouring communities in Hamilton, London, Kitchener and beyond, lifelong friends Caleb and Suzanne, were inspired to start a neighbourhood association in their own backyards.
Starting with an Easter Egg Hunt at Catherine Street Park in 2017, the neighbours came together to foster a sense of community, belonging, and safety. Followed by garage sales, coffee outside and snow forts, residents became neighbours and relationships started to be formed.
In November 2017, Fitzgerald Neighbours launched as an neighbourhood association and we’ve only grown since then.
Fitzgerald Neighbours is modeling its work off of an asset-based community development model that begins with a neighbourhood’s strengths. Building on this foundation we identify what we love about our community and what we can build on to make our neighbourhood safe, inclusive and welcoming to all. We start from a place of strength and build on this to address the concerns we have in our community. Strengths can be people, places, skills or resources in the neighbourhood. For example, we have three recreational parks, a splash pad, dog park, and community centre, all within a one kilometer radius. This is a huge strength! However, these assets are not well connected and don’t get used to their full potential. Identifying this gives us direction and helps us create a plan to further our guiding values to create a safe, inclusive and welcoming community for all. This strength based approach helps us build momentum and work towards goals in an efficient and effective way.
Our activities focus around objectives and action items.
OBJECTIVE: Increase recreational activities for seniors and young families.
ACTION ITEM: Build a pavilion for shade in Catharine St. Park.
Creating objectives and action items, provides focus and direction for our work. Based on successful neighbourhood plans, such as the Beasley Neighbourhood in Hamilton, our goal is to create a living document called a neighbourhood plan that will not only direct our work as a neighbourhood association, but will also give guidance to other stakeholders that interact with our community, such as municipal government, developers and business. A neighbourhood plan focuses on key objectives and helps prioritize our actions.
Click here to find out more about Our Work and what we’re up to.
Fitzgerald Neighbours is given direction from a dedicated Core Team. We are all residents of the Fitz.
- Chair: Peter Harris
- Secretary: Jesse Robitaille
- Treasurer: John Pennylegion
- Communications: Zach Dadson & Layton Risto
- Events: Peter Harris & Mary Rao
- Community Garden: Kahlin Holmes
- Merchandise: Kelly Harris
- Parks & Planning: Kahlin Holmes
- Pollinator Garden: Mike Kraft
- Founding Members: Caleb Ratzlaff & Suzanne Veenstra (past co-chairs)