The first event went so well, organizers are now planning a second event…stay tuned! And here are some of the compiled results as posted by SCEDT (business people, entrepreneurs, employers, employed and unemployed looking for work, you are welcome to just scroll to the bottom in order to save some of your time if you wish):
The two most prevalent responses to “What do you value about living in Summerland” centred on a strong sense community, the natural beauty and the special characteristics of our landscape and location.
Related qualities that rounded out the picture of our community involve the safe and small town atmosphere, the importance of our agricultural community, the vineyards and wineries, tourism and other unique aspects that provide a historical value to Summerland.
A Vision for Summerland
Participants at the Conversation Café strongly felt that the qualities we value about Summerland must be protected and sustained by carefully planning for a localized economic development that is based on our assets. In addition, the participants felt that employment opportunities, especially for youth, transportation and affordable housing all factor into a vision of a vibrant Summerland community.
Many participants’ vision of the future included a future for the younger generation in our community and a need to develop job opportunities and housing for youth and young families:
- Demographics more equally represented – Make Summerland attractive to young entrepreneurs
- Hold job fairs for young people. I see them having problems attaining work that will sustain them and give them a good living.
- Promote economic growth to encourage families to live and work here without detrimental changes to our community
- We need real jobs (not retain @ minimum wage)
- Involve younger people in planning future of the community
Promoting and supporting local businesses was a dominant theme:
- Everyone should shop at home – More local people supporting local business
- Support our local businesses and agricultural community
- Decide whether you are going to support Walmart or your local business
Consistent with the participants’ strong attachment to the rural, agricultural and natural beauty of the landscape, environmental and lifestyle issues also featured in the future of Summerland:
- An active population – encourage fitness and build walking trails
- Protect and develop the Trans Canada Trail as a non-motorized trail – to draw more tourism
- A vision that makes us unique
What does it take to move from TALK to ACTION?
The final question that the Conversation Café addressed was how do we move beyond talking? What does it take to be an economically vibrant and sustainable community that, at the same time, promotes and protects our collective values?
The common theme to this question addressed to the need to have an effective, inspiring and responsive leadership as well as an engaged community willing to work together to achieve set goals:
- Partnerships and a working ability – to help the idea (or person) to move through the process of building the business project to completion without barriers.
- Support by the community. Educating the community of the effects of the ideas and why Summerland needs these ideas.
- The Local Government should provide a venue and form organizations or committees to move forward with the many ideas generated tonight.
- People. Leadership. Will.
- Develop a critical mass of support behind a short, worked-over list of community initiatives.
In the Chamber report after the heading “moving from talk to action” comes the following statement:
“Conclusion: Conversations about things that matter are never-ending!”
Where I come from, talk is a good thing.