As Regional Director it will be invaluable to hear from a diverse spectrum of Islanders on land use planning proposals. Islanders want to be heard and feel represented. I’ve heard frequently how important it is to have more input into local governance. This is why creating a Community Advisory Group for Area C is a top priority for me.

I plan on building a Community Advisory Group who represent a spectrum of island interests. This group will be a channel for the Director to receive thoughtful input from a cross-section of diverse perspectives on land use planning decisions, bylaw amendments, and concepts with broad implications. Gaining a better understanding of community wishes and concerns about proposals under consideration will be extremely helpful to me as Director.

There is a Provincial tool called an Advisory Planning Commission (APC) created for use in Electoral Areas. The scope of an APC is strictly limited to land use and planning functions, and comes with a strict (some have suggested antiquated) framework. I’ve considered an APC and I’m currently investigating alternate Advisory Group models which may work better in our community.

Of course, there are a breadth of intentional community conversations which will extend beyond a Community Advisory Group. Focussed Town Hall meetings and community-wide consultation will play a big role as we work on solutions for complex issues such as housing and the availability of long-term emergency services.

For some community members attending a scheduled Town Hall meeting in-person is a barrier to being heard. Parents of youngsters, over-stretched renters hustling to keep the bills paid, those who live at the end of a long road. These voices are imperative for us to have a holistic understanding of what Area C residents want and need. Developing participatory solutions that are inclusive by design so we have the opportunity to include everyone who wants to have meaningful engagement is important to me.

Islanders are diverse; our needs and desires are also. What unites us are our rural nature, resilience and creativity. I’m keen to engage and support this diversity, because from my perspective the Regional Director must represent the interests of the community.

Active engagement is how to know I’m on the right path.

Making informed decisions as a community moves us toward small shifts…which can add up to meaningful change.