Time for Stanstead res­i­dents to plan fu­ture

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

The town of Stanstead has be­gun the work of de­vel­op­ing a strate­gic plan, meet­ing with many small groups of res­i­dents to hear about their con­cerns and hopes for the fu­ture of the town. “We’re still do­ing re­search now, meet­ing with groups of peo­ple here at the of­fice and at my home. We re­cently met with a small group at the Beebe Com­mu­nity Cen­tre,” ex­plained He­lene Hamel, the Project Man­ager of the town’s Vil­lage Re­lais Pro­gram, who is con­duct­ing the re­search along with Joanne La­je­unesse McKay, Stanstead’s Devel­op­ment Agent.

Ac­cord­ing to the adults who took part in the con­sul­ta­tions, 99% were proud to be from Stanstead and felt it was a nice, safe town. “What really both­ered them were the empty build­ings, par­tic­u­larly the com­mer­cial build­ings in the Rock Is­land sec­tor, and the prop­er­ties that are not main­tained,” said Ms. Hamel.

Of course the ideas and opin­ions of the town’s youth need to be con­sid­ered when mak­ing plans for the fu­ture and they haven’t been left out of this process. “We went to Galt and met with nine stu­dents who live in Stanstead. We asked them ques­tions but the con­ver­sa­tion could go in any di­rec­tion. One thing that did come out was that it was dif­fi­cult for the stu­dents be­cause of the ‘bad rep­u­ta­tion’ of Stanstead.” The group dis­cussed things that the stu-

dents could do to change that per­cep­tion. The stu­dents also spoke about the long bus ride to school, up to one and a half hours one way, and the crowded con­di­tions of some busses, re­quir­ing stu­dents to sit three to a seat. Tak­ing part in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties at school is also a chal­lenge, with stu­dents ar­riv­ing home around 7:30 at night and hav­ing to get up the next morn­ing around 6:00 am.

A meet­ing with Stanstead stu­dents who at­tend La Ruche High School, in Ma­gog, was sched­uled to take place yes­ter­day.

“We’ll be meet­ing with one more group of adults in Beebe in Jan­uary and then we’ll hold two gen­eral con­sul­ta­tions and in­for­ma­tion ses­sions, one in English and one in French, in Fe­bru­ary, open to the pub­lic. At those meet­ings we’ll give an up­date of our re­sults and we’ll talk more about the Vil­lage Re­lais project and how it could im­pact our town. Cre­at­ing a vi­sion for the town is im­por­tant but the peo­ple also need to help us de­cide whether to be­come a Vil­lage Re­lais,” con­cluded Ms. Hamel.

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