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Committee focuses on concrete goals

Community forum brings together ideas and inspiration

Members of the community gathered recently to discuss sustainability in the Powell River area and to establish a Vision Powell River Enabling Committee to “take the charter for sustainability to a new level.”

Arlette Raaen, principal of Vancouver Island University (VIU) Powell River campus, helped organize the Hope + Vision + Action = Community Forum event as part of an ad hoc committee with support from VIU, School District 47, the City of Powell River and Powell River Regional District.

Despite competing with two other events, including a playoff hockey game, Raaen reported that about 100 people came out to the forum.

“I thought it was a resounding success,” she said. “I think it was really an uplifting, inspirational evening and we came out of it with what we wanted, which is a strong group of people who want to take this forward.”

The keynote speaker of the event was Janelle Orsi, a “sharing lawyer” from Berkley, California, who talked to the crowd by way of Skype about community sharing programs and cooperatives that can revolve around anything from cars to farms to housing.

Brooks Secondary School student Graham May, grade 12, spoke to the crowd on behalf of youth. May is involved with the Students for Environmental Action (SEA) group at Brooks and brought the attitudes and ideas that he has heard there to the crowd.

Youth are in favour of the charter, said May, but also want to see some action behind it. He said he has heard frustration from youth that so far no signs of the charter’s influence can be seen and that they want to see something tangible happen. Two members of SEA joined the enabling committee to offer a youth voice for future planning.

May asked the crowd to envision how they see the charter coming into play and to talk about that vision. May himself wants to see the charter come into action and to utilize the commitment that many people and organizations have shown to make it happen.

“I think people were relieved to see some action happening on stage as opposed to just dialogue, as important as that is,” said May. “There were some very, very outspoken, very interesting people and interesting ideas there. I found it quite inspiring actually, that there was so much support for this movement.”

During the forum 14 names of people interested in joining the enabling committee came forward.

The enabling committee is being touted as a way for the community to get involved in the implementation of the charter and to help put it into action. The steering committee for the charter is still ongoing, as it is a living document requiring updating and revision, but the new committee is committed to following the charter’s principals to start activities.

Anyone interested in getting involved should keep a look out for new information on upcoming meetings or events.