The City of Kitchener is temporarily pausing engagement on the Queen Victoria statue, following the successful conclusion of an initial first phase that included a partnership with Jay Pitter Placemaking. Ms. Pitter developed a community engagement strategy, a public education framework and provided invaluable advice to our senior leadership team to help inform an equitable placemaking approach to this work.

Among the new approaches Ms. Pitter brought to the City’s work in equitable engagement was the introduction of a witnessing circle, which enabled community members an opportunity to unpack different perspectives and share their own thoughts and feelings related to the statue. She also outlined a safe(r) small table community engagement approach centring not-for-profit organizations and grassroots leaders in the decision-making process so individuals facing barriers or discomfort in large group settings can meaningfully share their perspectives. These and other innovations from Jay Pitter Placemaking established an important foundation for compassionate co-learning and collaboration.

Ms. Pitter has concluded her work on this project and the City will be temporarily pausing the project while focusing on the next phase of community engagement that builds on the outcomes of previous learning and discussion.

“We appreciate the support and expertise Jay brought to this project as we worked together to undertake the challenging work of this engagement process,” said Justin Readman, General Manager of Development Services. “Although equity-driven placemaking and planning work is not a straight path, we are committed to learning and moving forward in alignment with the City’s Vision and Strategic Plan.”

The City’s next steps on the project will include gathering feedback from participants on the process to date and preparing the next phase of engagement. Following the advice of Ms. Pitter, the next phase of the project will move more slowly and be led by local community engagement facilitators. As has been committed to throughout the project, the City will continue to centre the voices of Indigenous, Black and racialized community members throughout the engagement process.


For more information, please contact:

Bethany Rowland
Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing