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I envision a network where we share ideas and best practices, we apply them, then we share the leanings for the evolution and re-application for more and more success! We support each other as we support our communities in ever-increasing success. I see individuals supported by their communities to survuve and thrive, thusly increasing the social and economic success of those very communities.
Tell us about your work in your community
I am the Director of Community Services for Yellowhead County, Alberta. I am responsible for cemeteries, libraries, heritage, culture, agriculture, parks, recreation, and family & community support services in our County, with 8 hamlets and about 11,000 residents. We have partnership agreements with the towns of Hinton and Edson.
Tell us a story about a time you brought people together to improve your community.
I have been blessed in my work to get to do this on a regular basis, but one recent example from my work in Hinton stands out:
Our local movie/performing arts theatre burned down about ten years ago, and for the better part of seven years the community tried, and failed, repeatedly to replace this community icon. With frustration high, and funding questionable, Council tasked me with one last attempt to find a solution.
Through robust and challenging stakeholder engagement, I facilitated a move from confrontation towards collaboration, and forged a consensus based path forward. Our final design met most of the needs (and many of the wants) of a disparate array of invested community groups, and therefore received political support to move forward. We found financial support from local, provincual and federal governement sourcesm as well as private sector funding to complete the project. I am incredibly proud to say the Performing Arts Theatre Centre of Hinton opening earlier this year, to rave reviews and has already hosted many successful live performance events and countless movies.
What problems are you trying to solve?
- Economic Diversification to buffer the boom/bust cycles of our heavily resource based local economies.
- Social equity and access to needed services in our rural setting.
- Developing and supporting healthy smaller rural communities.
What do you need to learn how to do in order to solve those problems?
Best practices, tools, and methods of community engagement, education, and empowerment.
A much broader understanding of Economic Development as a concept, how ED can inform/support Community Development, and specifically successful ED techniques.
What are the most powerful questions you need to ask right now?
How do we support change!
Immigration, aging, resource economies, transient workforce, demographic shifts, etc.
How do we build healthy, vibrant, connected communities in rural settings?
How do we position ourselves to thrive today and in the future?
If we all worked together, what do you imagine that we could achieve in the next five to ten years?
What a great picture it is! I envision a network where we share ideas and best practices, we apply them, then we share the leanings for the evolution and re-application for more and more success! We support each other as we support our communities in ever-increasing success. I see individuals supported by their communities to survuve and thrivce, thusly increasing the social and economic success of those very communities. I see asset-based communities enabled and empowered to grow their economic diversification. I see people across the age/immigration/education spectrum happy, healthy, engaged, and fulfilled.