Linda Lowther wanted more than just the standard municipal plan for the Resort Municipality.
She’s deputy mayor of the group of P.E.I. communities that includes Cavendish, Stanley Bridge, and North Rustico. After years of talking about it, the Resort Municipality is preparing a 20-year strategic plan, which will largely take the public’s input into account.
“We wanted this to kind of create a vision for the community.”
Under provincial law, municipalities have to have official plans, but they usually look more toward areas like bylaws and land use, Lowther said.
“We wanted this to be bigger.”
This initiative, called Our Next 20 Years, is going to look at four main categories – the environment, infrastructure, housing and economy in relation to tourism. Members of the public are welcome to voice their thoughts on those topics and more during a series of pop-up sessions throughout August, she said.
“What they think we should be doing for the next 20 years.”
“Not everybody wants to speak at a big public meeting. I hope that people do pop in.”
Upland Design + Planning, a company based in Dartmouth, N.S., has been contracted to gather data and take feedback at the pop-ups. The company plans to take a holistic approach to creating this plan.
“(We’re) not looking at things individually,” Jason Genée, planner with Upland, said.
They started working in June 2018 by researching past reports done in the area. Once this month’s pop-ups are complete, they’ll assess what they heard and return for another round of presentations and feedback sessions this October.
“We need their input first," he said, “what they value, any challenges or barriers they may see.”
The municipality’s population increases significantly during peak tourism months, meaning Upland has to consider how the next 20 years will look for annual visitors as well, Genée said.
“How can those people be serviced, and how can you balance that with the needs of the community.”
Upland will present the final plan by the end of the year. Lowther hopes the pop-ups will allow locals to share their opinions more comfortably.
“Not everybody wants to speak at a big public meeting,” she said. “I hope that people do pop in.”
The plan will help guide the Resort Municipality, such as by informing its council what to spend money on and what not to, Lowther said.