NIMBY, which stands for not-In-my-back-yard, has become an increasingly prominent sentiment as our cities attempt to expand, modernize, and densify. The issue is that developers are failing to engage critical stakeholders.
The result is nimbyism, which often oversimplifies a development issue creating a black-and-white, us versus them debate. But it developers engaged with stakeholders they would have a much better chance of coming to mutual beneficial solutions for themselves and communities they are attempting to build in.
Many development proposals are poorly designed and do not fit with the culture of a neighbourhood. Even worse is when development proposals do not fit within infrastructure constraints, especially transportation.
Based on the strong opposition, the Clublink’s and Glen Abbey case is a clear example where the development proposal does not reasonably fit within Oakville’s infrastructure or cultural constraints. But what happens when development proposals are done right and nimbyism still takes hold?
If Glen Abbey was developed differently, as a sustainably planned neighbourhood, with highly energy efficient passive homes, active and well-designed transportation infrastructure and adequate greenspace, would people still be opposed? Maybe enough for the development to get approved.
If developers engage existing communities before development proposals are finalized, there could likely be more constructive dialogue and discussion around needs and constraints. This is called stakeholder engagement, and no future business, especially developers, will be successful without it.
Clublink has clearly failed at engaging Oakville’s stakeholders and nimbyism is therefore unavoidable. Hopefully developers can engage stakeholder more effectively in the future.
Photo Courtesy of Peter Blanchard