Conflict is inevitable with any high profile project. However, a carefully structured dialogue could offer a more effective and durable method to resolve conflicts and build consensus around controversial or often complex projects.

If project teams for high profile projects, such as a new international border crossing, a jail, new stadium or arena or a large mixed-use development are serious about seeing their vision a reality while contributing to the community, an effective strategy would be to engage the community and other stakeholders early in the process.   A plan should consist of:

  • Public Affairs and Relationship Building
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Facilitation
  • Crisis Management
  • Strategic Consulting

This includes:

  • Identify Goals
  • Define Expected Outcomes
  • Identify and prioritize stakeholder groups and key influencers (Windsor/Detroit)
  • Determine how and why to engage each stakeholder group
  • Identify key events to attend and/or support to become more visible
  • Develop the messaging & strategy to wrap around each stakeholder

To create an effective community engagement plan you need to be authentic and work to inspire a community to help build with you. 

Other issues to consider include: historic preservation and environmental stewardship.

While risk can be managed a business must make sure that it is managed well. Public affairs represents an organization’s effort to monitor and manage its business environment.   It combines communications, government relations, issues management and corporate citizenship strategies to improve public policy, build a strong reputation and find common ground with stakeholders, all in an effort to ensure one’s reputation remains in tact, no matter what the situation is.

To avoid delays in the project, including those in the public process in securing governmental approval and later financing, project teams and developers should work well before a project is announced to avoid future crises by building relationships, monitoring the media, establishing clear public policy goals.