On April 12 close to 70 residents of the Town of Antigonish came out for the second in a series of two community conversations co-hosted by Engage and the Town to inform the development of their strategic plan.
Between the first event in January and the second event, a day-long session was hosted on March 23rd at the local Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School by Engage’s Hailey Vidler, Steve Scannell from the Town, Mayor Laurie Boucher and two StFX Service Learning Students, Matt and Julia. It was a hands-on and interactive session for students that created a space for honest, fun and meaningful conversation.The practical and insightful thoughts and ideas harvested from the student and youth discussions helped to inform priories, reinforcing the perspectives of residents who attended the first event.
At the second event, Mayor Boucher welcomed residents, some of who attended the first, and others who were new to the process. She thanked them for their considerable contributions during the first event where nearly 150 residents attended.
Of the 14 themes identified by participants during the first event, five discussion themes were chosen through a combination of voting and integrating past Town consultation exercises. The five themes selected for a deeper dive were:
- Create an Age-Friendly Community
- Recreation, Leisure and Outdoor Space
- Support Economic Development
- Pursue Environmental Sustainability
- Arts and Culture
Table conversations were then self-selected and facilitated by staff of the Coady international institute, themselves town residents. The break-out conversations were set up to discuss specific and tangible pieces of work that would help the town plan for the future in a way that best reflects the priorities of its residents.
The mayor, councillors and staff participated in discussions with residents about what mattered most to them, what the Town was doing well already, and clarifying roles both the town and residents can play.
Engage will continue to work with the Town to harvest the ideas, actions and advice from this second community event and support them as they seek to incorporate the advice of their enthusiastic and engaged residents into their planning.