Monday night’s planning meeting for ChangeCamp Ottawa was interesting. We came up with a proposed date for the event – May 2, 2009. Ideas for a venue were considered. As the discussion turned to potential themes for the event, as well as expected outcomes, I realized I’ve got some more homework to do to get up to speed on the whole concept. After all, I’ve only ever been to one other unconference/BarCamp-style event.
One participant made a good point about the regional focus: the ChangeCamp concept is local. But in the case of Ottawa, local needs to include Gatineau. After all, we live, work and play on both sides of the Ottawa river. It would be artificial to restrict the local idea to the Ontario side only. To illustrate his point, he drew up a circle on a scrap of paper and marked a line down the middle, to show how we don’t stay on one half or the other. Here’s my attempt to recreate this (thanks Google maps!).
Practical examples: several of my neighbours in Old Ottawa South work in Gatineau. Many of my colleagues at Industry Canada (in the CD Howe Building in downtown Ottawa) live in Quebec. I went Cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park on the weekend.
Yet given the way municipal and provincial boundaries are drawn, government services are delivered to Ottawa-Gatineau residents as if they only existed on one side of the river or the other. There are two transit systems, two municipal recreation programs, two garbage/waste collection services, etc. Perhaps that could be a good theme for this ChangeCamp: identifying ways to use technology to overcome or unite separately delivered services when there is an obvious benefit to doing so.