CHATHAM-KENT, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 7, 2011) - Innovative design and healthy communities were the focus of a forum held today in Chatham that brought together municipal representatives, health service agencies, housing providers and planners to share ideas and seek inspiration from unique housing and community design initiatives in Southwestern Ontario.

The Success in Innovation forum carries on the work of identifying development opportunities in the communities involved in the Community Summit, held in Chatham-Kent 2009. Today's event is the first in a series of sessions to be hosted by each community. 

"Today was a great opportunity for Chatham-Kent to continue the momentum from the Community Summit. It allows us to identify future opportunities and build on past achievements that support our strategic directions and goals," said Randy Hope, Mayor of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. "To become a magnet for sustainable growth we must facilitate partnerships with other levels of government and engage the community in moving our vision forward."

"Healthy living and community design are concepts integral to all residents in our region. There are many diverse needs in the community from a growing number of populations," said Caen Suni, Senior Director, Partnership Development and Strategic Planning, Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). "The key to the development of successful local projects is to take advantage of partnerships and sharing ideas among health care experts, municipal representatives, housing agencies, local builders, among many others. We can all leverage our expertise and generate truly innovative projects." 

Chatham-Kent and Erie St. Clair CCAC organized the forum to help identify promising approaches to develop housing and communities that meet the needs of residents of all generations.

"Creating homes for people along the housing continuum is essential for developing healthy and sustainable communities. Learning about successful initiatives in other communities can help municipalities make better planning decisions," said Shelley Wilkins, Director, Social Housing Health and Family Services, Chatham-Kent.

The half-day forum showcased innovative housing projects and supportive housing programs in Sarnia, Windsor-Essex, and London.

"We are very excited and eager to share our vision of a supportive housing project currently under construction in Sarnia. This project, through design and co-ordination of services, will provide an innovative approach to enhancing the lives of residents in Lambton County," said Lola Dudley, Manager, Housing Services, County of Lambton.

The organizers believe participants will be inspired by the housing projects presented today and take away ideas that will benefit all communities.

Contact Information: Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
Caen Suni
Senior Director, Partnership Development and Strategic Plann
(519) 436- 2222 ext. 7245