JEN CROWE, CHAIR
With a background in youth and community engagement, I am interested in how we create engaged and resilient communities where people feel connected and able to effect change.
I believe that the most pressing issue in this city is collaboration. Too often, citizens aren’t immersed in the decision making processes that affect them the most. When we feel that they have a say in how our city is developed, and how policies are implemented, we feel more connected to the place that they call home. Happy City enhances the way that citizens engage with their city – from consultations, to survey; summits to podcasts – Happy City St. John’s provides a vehicle for engagement and a way to have your say!
In my neighbourhood, I value accessibility. The ability to run down the street and be met with miles of trail, or walk down the road to a pond (or a couple kilometres and up Signal Hill), is a unique component of living in St. John’s. Ensuring that a city has a blend of nature/green space, access to amenities, and an affordable cost of living is what contributes to a strong and vibrant neighbourhood or city.
MEGHAN HOLLETT, VICE-CHAIR
Newfoundland & Labrador is proud of our inclusivity, but we can do better. Inclusivity means: recreation facilities & programs accessible to all socioeconomic groups; reliable transit that meets all needs; informing & engaging citizens with political issues on levels that work for everyone; and addressing biases (conscious & unconscious). Happy City enhances civic literacy, making city politics digestible & providing ways to get involved. We a) facilitate community exchanges, taking a neutral stance while connecting citizens; b) foster healthy physical engagement with our environment; and c) strive to create space for all people.
The ideal neighbourhood has a vibrant mixture of backgrounds & cultures, were multiple races & religions can be seen & celebrated. It has collective groups that bring people together and spaces where they can gather both indoors and out. It is a home to cafes, restaurants, leisure centres and shops. A great city has ample urban green space and accessible proximity to rural nature (hiking trails, waterfalls, etc.). It has a supportive and active art scene, accessible options to buy local (a farmer’s market and neighbourhood shops), and reliable, integrated transit systems allowing you to move around the city with ease.
SHERIDAN MOORES, SECRETARY
As St. John’s grows, more and more issues will become apparent, from parking and services to democratic reform. Happy City can help residents stay informed and facilitate a forum to discuss solutions to help shape the city for the better.
In a neighbourhood I value livability; its great to have an accessible neighbourhood with diverse people and places all within a few minutes walk. Also, a neighbourhood or city that appreciates and protects its green space.
WILLIAM SHORT, TREASURER
Bio to come
ROB NOLAN, PAST CHAIR
I have a background in leadership and change management in public and non-profit sectors. I’m passionate about sustainable development and building healthy communities from the grassroots level.
I believe the most pressing issues for St. John’s right now are accessibility and inclusion. As we grow in terms of physical boundaries, age, diversity, and population, we need to ensure St. John’s supports the health and happiness of current and future residents. I believe Happy City plays a key role in empowering residents to participate in our community and to contribute to the ideas and decisions that improve St. John’s.
I value many things about a neighbourhood, but would put walkability and amenities at the top of the list. I love being able to walk to get a coffee in the morning or to purchase milk and eggs at a corner store, while meeting neighbours on the sidewalk.
DR. DAVID BRAKE, DIRECTOR
I’m am an educator/academic, journalist and activist with a particular interest in promoting transit and electric vehicles.
I believe that the most pressing issue in St. John’s right now is making sure the public is aware of the benefits of current best practices in municipal policy across Canada and helping them keep the council on course to deliver any needed changes.
In my neighbourhood, I value community spirit, backed up by well-maintained social infrastructures like comfortable public spaces and well-maintained public services.
CATHERINE BURGESS, DIRECTOR
My work and volunteerism involve collaborating with local organizations to foster safe, healthy, inclusive communities for all.
One of the most pressing issues in St. John’s right now is making sure it is a city that is accessible to all its citizens. Ensuring adequate transportation services, building more cycling infrastructure, and improving the usability of pedestrian spaces for all abilities are priorities that would enable all citizens to work, study, play and explore wherever and whenever they desire. Making accessibility a year-round commitment, and not just one for the snow-free months, is essential in helping all citizens feel supported and included.
St. John’s has many distinct neighbourhoods, which are a major part of what makes the city so vibrant and unique. The key things that stand out to me as being most valuable in a neighbourhood are walkability and bikeability, easy access to nearby amenities and, in particular, lots of public green space (the more, the better!). Each of these things can encourage a stronger sense of community and contribute to neighbourhoods that are inclusive spaces for all residents and visitors.
VICTORIA FITZGERALD, DIRECTOR
I am a Landscape Architectural Intern that wants to encourage sustainability and culture through the proper development and design of public spaces. I work with groups from small volunteer organizations to large municipalities to help create sustainable, safe and beautiful spaces for the people of St. John’s and its surrounding towns and communities.
I believe one of many pressing issues for St. John’s today is maintaining its character as the city continues to grow. Urban sprawl due to growing populations and development pressure has caused our communities to evolve in such a way that its character is no longer the defining factor. Neighbourhoods therefore are losing their unique history, culture and identity. Future developments should not ignore these characteristics but instead embrace them as together they make for stronger more successful communities.
Happy City St. John’s can help by encouraging and advocating for the pursuit of thoughtful and professional design while creating awareness on the importance of place identity and preserving St. John’s rich culture.
St. John’s is home to many incredible communities, each with its own unique history and aesthetic. In a community, I value clean, cared for open spaces, roadways and walkways where residents can feel safe and secure. A great community is one that embraces cultures, reveals identity and strives to create comfortable, accessible spaces and opportunities for everyone to enjoy.
BRAD GLYNN, DIRECTOR
I am an educator experienced in providing leadership development and experiential learning opportunities to youth and youth adults.
The lack of reasonable public transit options in our city is a huge concern for me. Due to a variety of factors, we are locked into a car culture that causes congestion and is bad for the environment. I believe Happy City St. John’s can continue to highlight the need for and benefits of public transit by engaging citizens and local government on the issue.
I value a city that is accessible to everyone. Universal design principles are important to me, especially in a city with an ageing population. Finding ways to make homes, businesses, and community hubs more accessible is crucial to me. I also value community. Finding reasons and places for people to gather and celebrate life helps make every neighbourhood a more friendly place to live!
JULIA LAWLOR, DIRECTOR
Bio to come
ELIZABETH OLIVER, DIRECTOR
I have a background in urban geography and long experience in urban issues, especially at the neighbourhood level.
St. John’s needs to determine a balance between outward growth and increasing density, along with providing appropriate mixes of uses in all areas. Happy City St. John’s can help by fostering dialogue and insisting on transparency.
In a neighbourhood or city, I value diversity of residents and neighbourhood-appropriate uses, coupled with attention to heritage and the environment.
CHELSEY PIKE, DIRECTOR
I have a background in engineering, business administration, and project coordination. I am interested in building stronger, healthier communities through vision, collaboration and action.
I believe that one of the most pressing issues facing St. John’s right now is effective engagement. The City supports hundreds of thousands of people who live and work in St. John’s but how many of them know how to engage with the City? And does the City really, effectively, engage with them? Happy City can, and does, play a key role in facilitating that communication as a trusted intermediary on civic issues and opportunities.
In a neighbourhood, I value those things that contribute to community wellbeing. Everything from naturalized space, to community events/activities; opportunities for learning, to accessibility through affordability. Anything that contributes to the health and happiness of neighbours and citizens I see as valuable to our neighbourhoods and city!
DR. AYSE SULE AKINTURK, DIRECTOR
I am a political scientist and economist with extensive experience working in for-profit and non-profit sectors and a passion for community volunteering to foster intercultural and interfaith learning.
Improving and sustaining the vibrancy of St. John’s requires, among others, welcoming and retaining newcomers, most of whom are from diverse backgrounds. Considering that we have the lowest ethnocultural and religious diversity indexes in Canada, this is not an easy undertaking. However, Happy City St. John’s can facilitate this process by promoting welcoming neighbourhoods and advocating for truly inclusive municipal policies, programs and investments that effectively serve the needs and expectations of diverse communities.
The value of a city lies in the equity with which it treats all of its residents without favouring certain privileged groups over minorities. This is best manifested in the success of its municipal leaders and organizations to make their structures, decision-making processes, policies, programs and investments truly accessible, accountable and inclusive.
Photos by Brad Greeley