Leonard Street gets innovative hub

Meet residents of Leonard Street today as they welcome the newest addition to their block: a shared emergency-supply bench.

The Leonard Street Neighbour Hub gives neighbours a gathering spot to interact and connect, while enhancing emergency preparedness by storing shared emergency supplies. It features an internal storage compartment that contains supplies such as a first-aid kit and water-purification equipment.

The bench also provides residents with solar powered outlets to charge their phones off the grid and a community bulletin board to share information.

“The bench is multifunctional, acting as a spot to hang out but also showcasing resources like solar panels and the emergency supplies stashed inside,” said Leah Karlberg, community-development lead at Neighbour Lab, the local planning and design studio that led the bench design process. “We hope that through its design, the Neighbour Hub prompts proactive behaviour, including making emergency plans with neighbours and loved ones.”

The project was initiated and led by Shift Collaborative’s Building Resilient Neighbourhoods project, supported by the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association and funded by the City of Victoria’s My Great Neighbourhood grant program, with emergency supplies provided by the city’s Victoria Ready program.

The public is invited to join residents at the hub’s unveiling at 2 p.m. today on Leonard Street between Cook and Cambridge streets. For more information, go to resilientneighbourhoods.ca.

Times Colonist