Emergency response bench installed in Victoria neighbourhood

Emergency response bench installed in Victoria neighbourhood
Glenn Olsen/CHEK News
The bench is supposed to represent waves for the Vancouver Island coast.

VicWest residents have created a shared-emergency supply bench in their community.

The bench — created by various community groups and the City of Victoria —   has been designed to reflect the coastal community and features accessible seating and table options, internal storage for emergency supplies, a solar-powered charging station, and a community bulletin board for emergency information.

Located next to the Galloping Goose trail in VicWest, the bench aims to serve as a community-building area and gathering place in case of an emergency for information exchange.

“In times of crisis, we see how community connections contribute to neighbourhood resilience. By designing shared spaces collaboratively, neighbours can come together in the process and feel pride and ownership of the final product,” Emi Webb, creative director with Neighbourhood Lab, one of the community groups involved in the project, said in a press release. “With the threat of a changing climate, earthquakes and future health crises, community mutual aid is vital to strengthening emergency preparedness efforts.”

The creation of the bench hopes to also bring communities together. Some feel the connection to people’s neighbours is lacking in urban environments like VicWest.

“We certainly hear in all of our workshops people who come from rural areas talk about that kind of rural attitude and that sense of mutual aid and taking care of each other and there’s a real nostalgia amongst a lot of people missing that,” said Stacy Barter of Building Resilient Neighbourhoods.

“I definitely think our urban lifestyle often that’s one of the things that’s missing and that’s why having natural bumping spaces for people to socialize and connect like this little bench right here is so important.”

The bench was unveiled this weekend during a “get to know your neighbour hub” event. People can take a selfie at the bench and post it to social media, they’ll then qualify for discounts at local businesses.

READ MORE: Community members organize weekly clean-ups at Beacon Hill Park

Justin WaddellJustin Waddell

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