In January 2020, the Moncton Dialogue Committee will be launching the Community Assets Map, an online interactive map listing all services offered in the Moncton area by public and private organizations (as well as community groups) focusing on priority issues in the area of social cohesion.
Where can help be found in Moncton? What health services are on offer? What are the basic mechanisms of food safety? What types of transportation services are available? If people are interested in getting more involved in the community, what organizations should they contact?
Complete answers to these practical questions will soon be available online: with the support of Dialogue NB, the Moncton Dialogue Committee (1) is currently putting together an interactive map listing all services in Moncton offered by public and private organizations and community groups. The Community Assets Map project, which was presented to Moncton City Council on May 21, is slated to be launched in January 2020 in both official languages.
Providing information and forging links
“The idea came to us last November shortly after Moncton joined the Dialogue Communities program and the Dialogue Committee was formed,” explained Susy Campos, Moncton Dialogue Committee champion, Dialogue leader and recently appointed CEO of 3+ Economic Development Corporation, where she is scheduled to take up her duties on June 10. “Since the Dialogue Committee’s role includes developing new solutions to foster social cohesion, we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Backed by Dialogue NB, we began by compiling a list of all existing services in the Moncton area, focusing on the key ‘living together’ issues previously identified for Moncton: healthcare, food safety, transportation, feelings of belonging and knowing where to find help. As we were drawing up that inventory, we realized that there was an urgent need to share this information with the public. In addition to guiding users, we think this information tool will enable them to forge new links while also facilitating cooperation between various organizations.”
Innovative algorithm for continuously updated information
Drawing inspiration from existing models, such as helpseeker.org, with which the Moncton Dialogue Committee is now partnering, the Community Assets Map will be an interactive service: “Members of the public can identify the services they need in just a few clicks, locate them on a map of the city and access updated information thanks to our open data portal,” said Nicole Ozita Melanson, liaison officer for the Dialogue Committee. “A specific algorithm, developed within the website, will make it possible to automatically add newly created organizations, divided into various categories. Similarly, all modifications (address changes and other information) will be immediately entered.” Strongly committed to social cohesion, Ms. Melanson is also manager of communications and bilingual services at the City of Moncton. In recognition of her work with the City, she was presented with the Lieutenant Governor’s Dialogue Award last year.
Rallying people and organizations around new solutions
The Moncton Dialogue Committee, which meets once a month, is currently putting the finishing touches on the project: identifying potential partners, creating the open data/map portal (scheduled for completion in August) and compiling preliminary existing information (a process that will continue until September).
For the nine members of the Dialogue Committee, this project is the first milestone in a broader strategy. Ms. Melanson offered this assessment: “Accompanied by Mathieu Wade, sociologist and expert in residence at Dialogue NB, and Vincent Merola, community development officer for social inclusion at the City of Moncton, we will be analyzing data from the website and identifying recurring issues encountered by users. We will attempt to address any such issues by developing specific projects. Needless to say, the map will help us identify and rally specialized organizations around these issues!” As part of the public engagement process put in place by the Dialogue Committee, Moncton residents were also invited to voice their opinions and share their suggestions aimed at fostering living together, in particular during the Public Dialogue scheduled on June 5.
For further information:
City of Moncton : https://www.moncton.ca/
City of Moncton’s open data portal: http://open.moncton.ca/
Dialogue NB – Dialogue Communities: https://www.dialoguenb.org/dialogue-communities/
Dialogue NB – Public Dialogue: https://www.dialoguenb.org/publics-dialogue/
- Formed in November 2018, the Moncton Dialogue Committee has been meeting once a month since January 2019. It has nine members: Susy Campos (champion), Krystal Cowling, Jill Van Horne, Xavier Infantas, Junior Kalala, Lorraine LeClair, David Michaud, Mary Reid, Nicole Ozita Melanson (liaison officer).