Planning a future
Aspecial meeting about the future development of Stanstead was held at the Manoir Stanstead on Monday night as a follow-up event to the public meeting that took place at La Vieille Douane restaurant in February. About thirty people from the community were invited to attend while several community workers and elected officials acted as moderators. “Our first meeting focussed on people’s perceptions of the town’s needs. The second meeting held last night was about trying to figure out what can be done,” said Edwin John Sullivan, the Town Clerk of Stanstead, who was one of the organizers of the event.
The participants broke up into small, round table groups to discuss the following themes: education; employment and entrepreneurship; communications and citizen participation; culture and tourism; youth; and sustainable development. “At each table we held like a workshop. The first thirty minutes we worked on our theme, then the next thirty minutes we worked on objectives, and we spent the last thirty minutes thinking up ideas for concrete actions,” explained Stanstead’s recreation coordinator Maryse Trepanier who was the moderator of the ‘Sustainable development’ table.
The town’s business development counsellor, Joanne Lajeunesse Mckay, was the modera- tor of the ‘Economy and Employment’ table. “In general we agreed that the town could profit from its geographic situation (near about the possibility of distribution centres here,” said Ms. Lajeunesse Mckay. This table also discussed drafting an action plan to attract investors among other topics.
The Observatoire Estrien du Developpement des Communautes
partner of the initiative, at first told the organizers to invite only fifteen people from the community, besides the moderators. “Since we have a population of 3000 we asked to invite at least thirty people so we could have a good cross-section of the community,” explained Mr. Sullivan. Although the moderators were assigned to certain tables, the invited guests were allowed to choose the theme they wished to brainstorm about.
By the end of the evening concrete ideas had come out of each table. Those at the Youth table, which included local filmmaker Damon Cox and event organizer Ziv Przytyk, want to begin hosting monthly dances for the youth in the town. The Communications table suggested hosting a ‘town appreciation’ day when the town hall can open up their doors so the public can find out what goes on there on a daily basis. Both of the principals of the local elementary schools, Julie Dubois and Elaine Baylis-creary, sat at the Education table. That table spoke about planning a special event to take place during the annual ‘Fete des familles’.
“We are now down to the wire and we’ll create core groups to bring the ideas to actions,” said Mr. Sullivan.
Mayor Philippe Dutil sat at the Education table during the event on Monday night. Councillor Chris Goodsell can be seen in the background.
Each table at the Manoir Stanstead event was dedicated to a different theme or topic of discussion.