Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dream a little dream with me

Here’s a chance to put your best Nostradamus impressions to work and tell us where you think Prince Rupert will be in the year 2037 and what it needs to do to get there.

Imagine BC is looking for thinkers and visionaries to share their thoughts this weekend. The project which is run through Simon Fraser University in Vancouver is crossing the province looking for input from local communities on where they see their hometowns at by the time 2037 rolls over on the calendar.

This is year three of a five year plan for Imagine BC, which has seen a number of dialogues take place to study such things as economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and healthy communities. The Northern Coastal communities get their opportunity to explore the future this weekend in Prince Rupert at the Museum of Northern B. C.

More information on the overall project can be found at the ImagineBC website, while the Daily News featured more on the local plans in its Wednesday edition.

Residents urged to plan and dream of the future
By James Vassallo
The Daily News
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rupertites with a vision for the future are being asked to share it this weekend.
As part of Imagine Prince Rupert — run within the provincial Imagine B.C. tour — locals will get to put forward their idea of the city in 2037.

“With both economic development and social planning, I think we tend to get so bogged down with whatever is immediately facing us that we just don’t have the ability to think about the future very often,” said Michael Curnes, North Coast Community Assets (NCCA) executive director. “I know that’s certainly true on the social services side of things where every organization is maxed out and working beyond the funding they’re receiving, so they don’t have the opportunity of saying, ‘where are we going?’

“This opportunity to actually have a facilitated dialogue with Simon Fraser and Imagine B.C., will help us get rid of that baggage so we can think about the future.”

Imagine B.C. is a series of dialogues that seeks to create a forum for diverse perspectives about the future of the province. B.C.-wide the initiative has looked at things like the province’s culture and the relationship between economy and B.C.’s environment.

“The idea came about three years ago ... to talk about issues that bring people together and really transcend politics and get people out from under their positional kind of conversations,” said Joanna Ashworth, dialogue programs director, of SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

“That’s one thing you can do when you talk about the future, it allows everybody to step back from the immediate issues and think ahead a generation.”

As part of those earlier dialogues, Imagine B.C. found feedback from five distinct economies in the province, but also felt that more could be gleaned from the visions of the larger number of regional districts and local communities. In Rupert, the core questions will look at the trends facing the community as well as involve thinking ahead to how participants would like the future to be, how to get there and the impact of decisions being made today on that desired future.

“What matters is getting diversity of people in the room who are open to whatever comes out,” said Ashworth.

“We’re not assuming there will be agreement, but the idea is that when you talk about the future, in a sense you’re taking a step back from what is happening right now and perhaps some of the conflicts that may be in existence.”

Once the discussion is completed, Ashworth notes the potential for ‘widening ripples of dialogue’ exists where plans for the future can be brought to larger groups and eventually the public as a whole. The community will not be asked to commit to anything, but the Wosk Centre will support Rupert’s efforts if the community wishes to go forward.

Imagine Prince Rupert will take place during two days — Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (dinner included) where the direction of the discussion will be determined and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (breakfast and lunch included.) The unique event will take place at the Museum of Northern B.C.

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