City of Summerside and La Centre Belle-Alliance collaborating
With statistics Canada noting that a third of Summerside’s population is Acadian or of French Heritage, city councillors thought it important to collaborate with La Centre Belle-Alliance.
On Monday, city council passed a resolution forming an agreement with the local French and Acadian group.
It’s a five-year agreement showing the willingness for Summerside to work with its French and Acadian communities to better the city and the community, said Coun. Brent Gallant.
“We’ve been looking to formalize a partnership with the centre for a number of years. In recent months, the opportunity came to us to do so.”
In the agreement, it states that both parties will work together from April 1, 2017, until March 31, 2022.
The hope is that it will encourage Acadians and francophones in the community to participate in activities organized by the city, as well as volunteer on committees, boards and other working groups, attend council meetings and inform council of important events, activities, plans, milestones, initiatives or policies that may impact the city.
“We’ve been looking to formalize a partnership with the centre for a number of years. In recent months, the opportunity came to us to do so.” Coun. Brent Gallant
The partnership will also help organize recreational activities in French using facilities located in the city or operated by the city.
Gallant says there are no concrete goals as of yet, but it will allow for many opportunities in the future.
“It’s made us more aware. Now we’re making what we already do formalized.”
The collaboration will promote Summerside as a host of cultural and tourism events in French such as the 2018 Acadian Seniors Games, 2019 Acadian World Congress, 300th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of Isle-Saint-Jean taking place in 2020 and supporting Summerside’s Sport and Event Tourism Strategy (SETS) by providing, where available, francophone resources for the staging of national and international events and SETS efforts in becoming bilingual.
Three main initiatives will come from the agreement: developing a vision and strategy to translate the city’s website and its content, as well as other city documents for public consumption; adding bilingualism as a preferred skill when hiring front-line staff at City Hall and Credit Union Place and communications support staff and inventing methods to increase public visibility of Frenchspeaking staff already employed by the city.
The groups will meet once a year to review the previous year’s collaboration efforts and progress achieved, to outline the upcoming year’s efforts and to identify improvements to the effective and mutual partnership.
Bill Martin, the city’s mayor, and Giselle Babineau-Jordan, the chairwoman of La Centre Belle-Alliance will sign the agreement in August.