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North Vancouver School District



With demographic shifts, changing enrollment numbers and school closures, the North Vancouver School District (NVSD) was in the enviable position of holding a significant amount of school property that could be potentially re-purposed for other uses. To manage this unprecedented land disposition strategy and move forward effectively, the NVSD Board of Trustees wanted to improve its land management community relations and stakeholder engagement activities.



In 2012, Epic PR set out to establish and implement a communication and public engagement framework that involved reaching out to, informing and involving an array of parties — from parents and students, neighbours, educators and staff, City and District planners, businesses, First Nations, MLAs and the broader community — in meaningful ways to create a shared vision for NVSD’s land management strategy.



The community engagement communications strategy focused on a broad range of techniques, tactics and communications outreach initiatives that were planned in conjunction with two large-scale public events and one facilitated municipal workshop. These activities included three main areas that emphasized two-way communications and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders:

  • Traditional outreach (collateral materials, newspaper editorial)
  • Direct outreach (open houses, presentations, workshops)
  • Online outreach (microsite, social media events, online surveys)

Epic PR also developed clear messaging that explained the issue as well as the community engagement process, and invited the public to participate in open dialogue in a variety of ways.

In just a few days, a microsite was created that served as a primary communication tool and source of information for the community. In addition, Epic PR developed a comprehensive community consultation guide, which included a summary of the key issues, all relevant properties, the various ways the NVSD communicates to the public, and opportunities for the community to get involved. We also launched an online survey to collect additional input and feedback from the public.



Epic PR created and successfully implemented a new community engagement communications infrastructure for the NVSD. Most notable was the stream of positive feedback that the NVSD received from key stakeholders regarding the school district’s fresh and sincere approach to community relations. In about six months time, the school district was able to shift public sentiment from one of distrust and skepticism that land management and disposition plans were a “done deal”, to one of increased trust and stronger, more positive relationships.  Participation in public events — both online and offline — exceeded the Board’s expectations and by all accounts and the project was a remarkable success.