Mounting Concerns of Sustainability Addressed locally by Volunteers

The Mount Community Centre is an old heritage building located on Monaghan road in Peterborough, Ontario.

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Photo Source : KawarthaNOW

This urban treasure has a long history. It was home  to the Sisters of St. Joseph.

When the Sisters relocated to a new home next door, the convent sat abandoned for a few years and was starting to get run down.

Rather than demolishing the 131,400 square feet of heritage buildings, local community partners worked tirelessly to reimagine the space and plan out a sustainable strategy for the site.

A network of citizens and organizations worked tirelessly to redevelop the site as a community asset to address poverty and meet community needs.

In particular, they wanted to

  1. Provide affordable housing and
  2. A food centre.

To learn more about the history of The Mount and its redevelopment,  you can visit themountpeterborough.ca.

Trent University alumni, An Kosurko, completed her Masters Degree in Sustainability Studies. She wrote her Masters Thesis on this important project.

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She was interested in understanding how volunteers participate in place-making.

She conducted a community-based case study and produced a video documentary on the Mount Community Centre. She explored narratives of 24 volunteer experiences to understand the motives behind their volunteer efforts.

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“What was important to me was to capture the voices of the participants in defining what The Mount was becoming and how these volunteers were going about sustainable community development at a local scale. The data collection was rigourous, but also a lot of fun and allowed for a rich narrative for analysis.”

She identified 3 key phases of volunteer experience that were identified in the Mount Community Centre Development:

  • The Daring Phase – a point of daring comes in stepping forward to make change in your community
  • The Erring Phase – a process of wandering from a usual path to create new perceptions
  • The Groundswell Phase – an ideal time for an organization to attract and reinforce volunteer support

Kosurko says that Canadian communities have the power to solve local problems when they work together.

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By building a sense of place, we can motivate and influence people to come together and volunteer their time to connect with our history and our future and collaborate to help build a more sustainable world.

Imagine what we could do if we work together to redevelop old buildings in other areas to Mount them into New!

Thank you An for your participation – and thanks for telling us about this amazing story!

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