New project to identify Stewiacke strengths, weaknesses

Raissa Tetanish
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‘There are things going on here that I didn’t know about’

STEWIACKE – One of the things Mike Allison likes about a new project the Town of Stewiacke is undertaking is the importance of quality of life.

Allison and his wife, Doreen, have been business owners in the area for three years and moved their family into the town two years ago. Both attended Tuesday morning’s meeting on the new community economic development project – Our Town.

“There are a lot of ways to promote development and what I like about this is that quality of life is important,” said Allison. “You’re interested in knowing what type of projects do people want, not just what council wants. There is so much potential in Stewiacke and I hope you get lots of response.”

Heather Hamilton has been hired as the project co-ordinator and wants to know what residents and business owners in Stewiacke think. The project came out of the town’s strategic planning that was adopted last year to encompass sustainability and quality of life.

“This project is a way of letting people know what’s available within the town and how we might be able to grow from the inside out,” said Hamilton during the second of three community meetings. “There might be opportunities there, right under their noses, that people don’t know about.”

The project entails residents and businesses filling out a survey to return to Hamilton. From there, she will compile a report, which is expected to be out in the spring.

“We want to know what skills and expertise people within the town have, what businesses are operating with the town and serving the town, as well as organizations that serve the town,” she added.

The project will also include information on what infrastructure is available – such as room rentals.

“The town leaders will use this report, and so can business groups, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and individuals. It will identify gaps in services. There are people out there with vision and if they see something, they may go ‘wow, I can take that on,’ and that would be fantastic.”

With two young children, the Allisons are already involved in various aspects in the community.

“I would like to see more things for the children,” said Doreen.

“They will grow up here,” added Allison. “I want contained growth and I see Stewiacke as being a growth area. I’m pleased the town is looking into that.”

Hamilton has already compiled lists of businesses, organizations and groups but is hoping residents and businesses know of more.

“(The project) will definitely be of benefit,” said Denver Levy, who has lived in the town for close to 68 years. “There are things going on here that I didn’t know about. We have so many new young people here and I’m sure they don’t know what’s available and what’s possible.

“This report, I think, will open a lot of eyes and make things better for our children.”

Surveys will be sent to all homes and businesses in the area and Hamilton is hoping as many people as possible will take the time to fill them out and return them. They’ll also be included in the town’s newsletter.

“Every person, organization and business is a huge part of this town,” she said. “This project will only be hugely successful if people fill out the surveys. This is a community grassroots project.”

Hamilton has set a deadline of March 7 to have the completed surveys dropped off at the town office. Once the report is complete, she plans to host a public meeting to discuss the findings and said the report will be publicly available.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ourtownstewiacke or email ourtownstewiacke@gmail.com.

The third and final meeting was set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Stewiacke Community Centre.

 

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Organizations: Stewiacke Community Centre

Geographic location: Stewiacke, Our Town

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