In view of the upcoming adoption of the municipality’s five-year plan, a small group of residents under the leadership of Peter White has decided to initiate a series of popular consultations held in the various sectors of the Town of Brome Lake.
The project is called ‘Imaginaction II’ and is inspired by the similar exercise held in 1989.
However, the city has already undertaken a similar initiative through, among other things, an online survey conducted by the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. “The difference between our initiative and the city’s consultation is profound,” declared Peter White in an interview with Tempo. “The meetings organized by the consultants were poorly conducted, and did not seek to hear the point of view of the residents. The population must be involved in the process if the plan is to be applied.”
Two meetings have taken place so far and about twenty people have taken part. A priority that emerged from these consultations, according to Peter White, is the need to preserve the rural character of TBL and not to encourage residential development throughout the territory. A realistic objective as long as it is based on coherent regulations says Peter White.
Is this consultation opposed to that carried out by VLB? “Not at all. The two initiatives are complementary says Peter White. We agreed with the municipality to present our conclusions on October 1, so that they can be integrated into the plan that the city will submit.”
Imaginaction 1 – 30 years later
Here is a summary of what “Imaginaction I” was like for Claire Kerrigan, who witnessed the process. The original article was published in October 2019.
In the fall of 1988, 156 volunteers in TBL got together to plan and make recommendations regarding the future of this town. This was Imaginaction, an interesting community exercise whereby the enthusiastic participants were divided into nine study groups and each group met in a Knowlton Academy classroom every Wednesday evening for 14 weeks.
The nine study groups were:
1. Agriculture/Forest/Open Space
2. CommunityAppearance/Historic Sites 3. Community Social Services
5. Economic Development
9. Town Services
Some of the many recommendations of this exercise have been implemented, others not. Of those implemented perhaps the founding of the community centre is one of the most visible, and the about-to-be-built Trestle Cove bridge reflects another.
The Imaginaction process has produced a number of other positive outcomes, some of which are:
• Interested citizens have been given the sense of really participating in town affairs, and this contributes to a healthy feeling of being part of the community.
• Above all, most participants found that the process was “a wonderful learning process, and an informed citizen in a democracy is surely a better citizen.”