Good neighbour tips & resources

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Results from the survey we distributed leading up to the creation of our Strong Neighbourhoods program indicated that residents have a desire to get to know their neighbours. 

The following tips and resources will help inspire you with ideas on how to reach out and build relationships with your neighbours. 

Introducing yourself to neighbours

Forming meaningful connections with your neighbours starts by making that initial introduction. 

Easy ways to meet your neighbour

  Whether you want to meet your neighbours for the first time or get to know them better, we’ve got some tips for you!

Handshake a week pledge

Keep it short and sweet! Set aside just 15 minutes a week to introduce yourself to one of your neighbours. 
TIP: keep the conversation short by staying outside or on the doorstep. 

Take a stroll...

Hesitant to knock on your neighbour’s door? Walk through your neighbourhood, smile and say hello to the neighbours you see. 
TIP: the more you practice this, the more “strangers” become “neighbours.” 

Find common ground

Looking for common ground? Start a conversation about your neighbourhood!  
TIP: have you seen your neighbours out jogging, gardening or with kids or dogs? Start a chat about that. 

Plan a get together

Invite a group of neighbours to a picnic in the park or morning coffee on your front lawn. 
TIP: provide name tags for people to use - make it easy to remember people’s names. 

Connecting without conversation

More of an introvert? Drop off a treat and introduce yourself with a short note. Get creative and have some fun! 
IDEAS: a packet of microwave popcorn with an attached note that says, "Just popping by!" or a jar of jam with the note: "If you’re ever in a jam…" 

Conversation starters

Don't worry! Everyone gets nervous when meeting new neighbours! Try these conversation starters: 

Conversation starters

Connector Cards

A great icebreaker as a way introduce yourself or connect with neighbours you find difficult to meet in person.

Pick and choose your front and back.

Download Connector Card

Reaching out to your neighbours

Once you’ve formed a connection with your neighbours, reach out to them if you need assistance and make it clear that you’re willing to support them. 

Calling cards

Designed for you to connect with your neighbours or to leave messages of support.

Download Calling Card 1

Download Calling Card 2

Door hanger

Whether you want to leave a friendly message, or you're looking to borrow a tool, these door hangers will help you make the connection!

Download doorhangers

Being a good neighbour

Take an interest in the well-being of your neighbours and follow the proper etiquette. 

150 ways to be neighbourly

In honour of Canada's 150th birthday, we compiled a list of 150 ways to be neighbourly!

1. Organize a clothing/toy/game/book exchange 
2. Start a hiking club to discover local trails 
3. Include your neighbours in your holiday celebrations 
4. Organize a block activity: soccer/basketball/volleyball/bocce game 
5. Give out flowers/fruit/vegetables from your garden 
6.  Clean snow/gravel from your neighbours’ driveways/sidewalks or cut their grass 
7. Host a holiday gift exchange 
8. Organize a building hallway event in your apartment/condo 
9. Plan a New Year's gathering so everyone is close to home 
10. Host a garage clean out and mini garage sale on your block 

Check out the full list of 150 ways to be neighbourly.

Be a friendly, neighbourhood snow angel

Help clear the way this winter!

Be a snow buster 

It’s the neighbourly thing to do - lend a helping hand by clearing snow from a neighbour’s driveway or sidewalk. 

Adopt your block 

Bring your neighbours together to keep your block clear of ice and snow. Keeping your sidewalk clear contributes to the health and safety of your neighbourhood. 

Pledge to keep your sidewalk clear

Share your shovel adventures with the City using #KelownaSnowAngel on Twitter or Instagram and be entered into a prize draw. 

Don't know your neighbour?

Break the ice and show your neighbourliness by shovelling their sidewalk or driveway. They’re sure to appreciate your help! 

You can help

From the first snow fall, many Kelowna residents find it challenging to keep their sidewalks free of snow and ice - particularly seniors or those with mobility challenges. 

Nominate your neighbourhood Snow Angel

Have an awesome neighbour who helps you out with snow removal? Nominate them online and they’ll be entered into a prize draw.

For more information, visit kelowna.ca/snowangels.

Seasonal neighbourhood activities

Spring

  • Hold a birthday party, family get together or neighbourhood meet & greet 
  • Create a treasure hunt 
  • Play on the playground 
  • Toss a Frisbee around with your friends 

Summer:

  • Play catch 
  • Have an acoustic jam session 
  • Sketch, paint or just take in the scenery 
  • Have a picnic 

Fall:

  • Watch a meteor shower 
  • Take family photos 
  • De-stress with neighbours and have an adult colouring party

Winter:

  • Have a neighbourhood snow sculpture competition 
  • Snowshoe 
  • Build a snow fort 

How to enjoy mindfully: 

Let them eat cake! 

Invite your neighbours to join in on your party or game of Frisbee. 

Parks are shared space; everyone is welcome. The more the merrier! 

Keep your ice to yourself 

Ice-cold beverages might revive you, but ice can ruin the grass. 

Tents make excellent kites 

Bring weights to keep ‘em where you want ‘em. Bring steaks not stakes. 

Slow down, enjoy the journey 

Get Active by Nature! Walk, skate, jog or ride your bike to the park. 

Don’t get left in the dark 

Parks close at 11 p.m. 

The fun can begin again, bright and early, at 6 a.m.

Parking etiquette

One way to be a good neighbour is by paying attention to where and how you park your vehicle.

How to parking mindfully:

 

  • Leave at least three metres or 10' between your vehicle's bumper and the edge of your neighbour's driveway so they can come and go with ease 
  • Share the space in front of your house; it’s public property and for everyone to use 
  • Beware of leaving your RV's, boats and other important possessions on the street for too long - after 24 hours, they could get hitched to a tow-truck 
  • Park uninsured vehicles on your property rather than the road and save yourself the potential ticket! 
  • Park on the right-hand side of the road; it's the side we drive on, it's predictable and helps keep everyone safe 
  • Avoid idling your fuel away, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen noise pollution by minimizing idling times. Idling = parked, so be aware of where you’re temporarily parking! 

For more information about parking guidelines, view the parking regulation in Kelowna's traffic bylaw.

Contributing to your neighbourhood’s safety

Do your part to keep your neighbourhood safe. 

Emergency services

It’s important to understand the difference between an emergency and non-emergency. Remember, 9-1-1 is for police, fire or medical emergencies when someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress. 

Emergency 

Non-emergency:

A serious crime has just occurred or is about to occur Reporting a crime after it has occurred 
Getting help for someone who is seriously injured or requires immediate medical attentionReporting stolen, lost or found property 
A fire, car accident or any other major incident or medical emergency Reporting suspicious or illegal activities in your neighbourhood after the fact 
If you feel in danger Contacting the police officer who attended to a prior complaint 
When someone else is in danger, or their property is in danger Obtaining general information from the RCMP 
Call 9-1-1 Call the non-emergency line: 250-762-3300 
Bylaw services

Bylaw Enforcement deals with the following issues:

  • Excessive noise 
  • Parking infractions 
  • Abandoned vehicles 
  • Panhandling 
  • Illegal Camping 
  • Infraction of Parks Bylaws (i.e. smoking, littering, not picking up after your dog) 
  • Illegal postering, graffiti 
  • Unsightly premises 

City of Kelowna Bylaw 
250-469-8686 
(Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) 

After-hours Bylaw 
250-762-3300 

RCMP Crime Prevention Unit

The RCMP embraces the principles of community policingwhich acknowledges the unique needs and problems specific to our community. Addressing public safety concerns is truly an interactive process between the police and community. The RCMP’s Crime Prevention Unit specializes in working with residents and businesses to address these concerns. 

When the public is involved they become a potent force for dealing with issues affecting the safety and well-being of their community. The Crime Prevention Unit will help increase neighbourhood engagement and establish the path towards becoming more crime resistant. 

Contact your Crime Prevention Unit for information related to: 

  • Nuisance properties 
  • Neighbourhood crime 
  • Home & personal safety 
  • Senior safety 
  • Frauds & scams 
  • Robbery prevention 
  • Block Watch 
  • Volunteer opportunities 

For non-emergency situations, you may contact the following: 

RCMP 
250-762-3300 (24 hours) 

Community Policing Offices: 
250-470-0600 (K.L.O Road) 
250-765-6355 (Rutland) 

Neighbourhood safety tips

Creating and maintaining a strong neighbourhood presence is an effective way to boost safety and security in your neighbourhood. 

How do you maintain a strong neighbourhood presence? 

  • Visit your neighbourhood park regularly 
  • Spend time in your front yard as being visible in your neighbourhood can be a crime deterrent 
  • Get to know your neighbours 
  • Socialize and have fun in your neighbourhood 
  • Go for walks in small groups, gather for coffee, potluck picnics, neighbourhood Frisbee or bocce games. 
The importance of being neighbourly

There are huge payoffs for getting to know your neighbours! 

When you know your neighbours… 

  • Your physical and mental wellness are bolstered 
  • Your personal safety and neighbourhood security are enhanced 
  • You can save money and time 
  • Opportunities to be even more environmentally friendly become possible 
  • There are more opportunities to be social, make a difference locally and have fun! 

All this exists just outside your front door! 

More benefits

Safety & security

Getting to know your neighbours can significantly increase safety and security in your neighbourhood. 

When you know your neighbours, it’s: 

  • Easier to spot out-of-the-ordinary activity in your neighbourhood 
  • More likely that your neighbours will tell you about something unusual happening around your home 

In an emergency, your neighbours: 

  • Might be the ones to pass on important information 
  • Are likely to look out for you and your unique needs 

Knowing your neighbours can be beneficial for daily tasks as well. Need to climb up a ladder to wash your windows? Ask a neighbour to hold the ladder and increase your personal safety. 

Go meet your neighbor; it can improve - and even save - your life. 

Physical & mental wellness

Did you know... 

  • A common reason for not getting to know one’s neighbours is that we think we have nothing in common with them? 
  • According to a recent survey, most people in Kelowna enjoy outdoor, physical activity? 
  • Knowing your neighbours is associated with a reduced risk of having a heart attack and an overall increase in physical wellness? 

Invite your neighbour to join you for that walk, hike or bike ride. Even if they don’t join you this time, you might learn how they like to be active, which opens up another level of conversation. If they do join you, you might discover that they are the exercise buddy you’ve been looking for. 

Mental wellness is supported when we get to know our neighbours: 

  • While you’re out being physically active, you’re boosting those feel-good endorphins 
  • If you make a point to stop and talk to your neighbours along the way, you will get to know your neighbours 

These face-to-face interactions are the building blocks to neighbourhood belonging! 

Positive relationships with our neighbours help create a rich social fabric. This helps to protect us from feelings of isolation and loneliness that are often linked to depression and anxiety. 

Save money & get green(er)

Get to know your neighbours & save money! 

When you get to know your neighbours, you get to know what they’re good at and what they need help with. Discover how you can share or pool your resources. 

Ideas: 

  • You mow their lawn, they help you harvest your vegetable garden 
  • Share tools rather than buy new tools you will rarely use 
  • Carpool to work 
  • Bulk buy groceries 
  • Swap clothes or children’s toys 
  • Create a baby/pet/house-sitting co-op 

These ideas can save money, decrease waste and reduce your carbon footprint. Want to do more for the environment? Working with your neighbours to plant trees, start a neighbourhood gardening group or clean-up initiative is a great place to start. 

Neighbourly stats
  • 19 per cent of people would interact with neighbours if there were more opportunities to be involved* 
  • A recent study showed a 67 per cent reduced risk of heart attack in people who had a high level of neighbourhood social cohesion** 
  • 21 per cent of people feel like they don’t have enough time or money to be more involved in their neighbourhood* 
  • Nearly 10 per cent of people don’t get to know their neighbours because they think they have nothing in common* 
  • Of people who aren’t satisfied with their neighbourhood interactions:   
    • 27 per cent say it’s due to a lack of neighbourliness 
    • 22 per cent say it’s due to a lack of opportunities to interact with their neighbourhoods* 
  • Lacking social connections is as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day***
*2014 Community Engagement Survey
**Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
***www.campaigntoendloneliness.org