Time for Stanstead residents to plan future
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.