Community members and visiting politicians participated in a community visioning session at the Music Makers Hall on March 12.

Community members and visiting politicians participated in a community visioning session at the Music Makers Hall on March 12.

A vision for the community

Nearly 50 people came out to participate in the community visioning season at Music Maker’s Hall on March 12.

Nearly 50 people came out to participate in the community visioning season at Music Maker’s Hall on March 12.

The event, organized by the District of Fort St. James, allowed participants to bring forward ideas for priorities and actions for the future of the community.

The event included Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, who is touring the northwest to discuss “the future economy of our region” in different communities, so he joined in on the community visioning session to support what the community was already doing.

Cullen said he took home a real feeling of “love of place and optimism” from the session, and wanting a “fair shake when it comes to resource development.”

There was also a representative from Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad’s office, as well as Sussanne Skidmore-Hewlett, NDP candidate for the Nechako Lakes.

Mayor Rob MacDougall and Councillors Riley Willick, Joan Burdeniuk and Dave Birdi were also present, as well as Anne Marie Sam, the local school district representative.

The evening event invited public input on the priorities and objectives council had so far set out for the community in their own visioning sessions.

Six breakout groups were formed each of which looked at one of the following topics: Health/social factors; infrastructure; economic development; environment; culture; and eduction.

The groups answered three questions on their topic: The strengths of the community in regards to the topic; the top needs of the community in regards to the topic; and the top priority actions or projects of the community in regards to the topic.

Each group came up with an extensive list of suggestions and ideas and Economic Development Officer Emily Colombo will now be compiling all of the information and presenting it to mayor and council for further discussion.

“As a newcomer to Fort St. James it was nice to see a community that’s trying to improve,” said Dustin Neufeld, a resident who participated in the event.