EASY FIRST STEPS TOWARD BECOMING RECOGNIZED AS A WALK FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Gather Broad Community Support
Start talking about the program and application with your colleagues. Reach out to others in your community that would be interested in providing support during the application process, e.g., local environmental groups, enthusiastic citizen volunteers. It is recommended that you form a WFO application committee to give a more formal structure to the team that will be collaborating throughout the application process. If you feel you could use some help generating a broad base of supporters and enthusiasm for walkability in your community, consider hiring Canada Walks to deliver a walkability workshop early in the process.
To apply, you must either be a municipal staff person or be working in collaboration with municipal staff on the application. If you are working in collaboration with municipal staff, you need to obtain a letter of support from the municipality and submit the letter to Canada Walks staff as soon as you begin the application process. Be sure that senior officials understand the scope of the process and know that it may take between 20-30 person hours to complete the application.
Review the Application Guide
Reviewing the application guide will give you a sense of what information needs to be collected and will get you thinking about where you will be able to find that information. It is helpful at this early stage to make note of which questions you’ll need help answering, prepare a list of who you’ll need to contact, and what you’ll be asking each person.
Encourage Your Team to Review Documents Under Each Section of the Resources Tab
The resources online here at WALK Friendly Ontario have been organized according to the different sections of the online application. It would be valuable to encourage different members of your team to review different resource sections. Another great resource is “Giving Cities Legs: Ideas and Inspirations from Walk Friendly Communities”, case studies of communities that have been designated as walk friendly in the USA.
Begin Collecting the Information
Look up information you know is available online, in reports, etc., and begin contacting others who will need to provide information or direction about where to look. Since it may take some time for people to respond to your requests, be sure to reach out to others as soon in the process as you can.
You may find it easiest to fill out the relevant section of the application each time you find new information, i.e., begin filling it out right away rather than gathering all the information and entering it all at once. This approach will make it easy for you to see where there are still gaps in your information. Be sure to document where you found information/statistics so that when you apply again in the future, you remember which files/staff you contacted for which information.
Ask Canada Walks Staff for Assistance
If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Canada Walks staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to provide guidance and suggestions. We can even try to connect you with a colleague in another community so you can learn about their experiences and lessons learned.