Start early with a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach
Project proponents realized early on that development of a complex and innovative building would require input from a range of elected officials, municipal staff and technical professionals. As well, achieving energy and financial efficiencies required some additional “upfront” investment, so it was important to get community support for the fire hall project’s sustainability goals. The early formation of an advisory committee made up of technical experts, community members and local government officials helped to build support for the project in the community from the outset, and to promote a shared understanding of the project’s aims.
Funding Opportunities improve business case
The total budget for the project was well over $6 million, and the town required a long-term loan to finance the project. The low-interest loan and energy efficiency grant from FCM’s Green Municipality Fund helped to ameliorate some of the community’s concerns and made it more clear that investing in an energy efficient fire hall made sound financial sense over the long term.
Clear and Consistent Communications Strategy
With a compelling business case and growing interest in sustainable development, many in the community supported the fire hall’s energy efficient upgrade. But some opposition remained. Using the business case and the Green Communities award as the basis for the project’s communications strategy helped to overcome some of the remaining opposition in the community.