Create welcome committee: councillor
Northern News Services
Published Monday, May 31 2010
However, Coun. Andrew Cassidy doesn't want his proposal likened to a Welcome Wagon, explaining that is a little too "Cleaveresque" for what he has in mind.
Instead, Cassidy is suggesting the creation of a committee - made up of council members and community residents - to work with employers and newcomers to improve understanding of what makes Hay River attractive to newcomers and in what areas the town may be lacking.
At the May 10 meeting of council, he said, over the past few months, he spoke to a number of individuals who had recently moved to Hay River.
"Some were incredibly enthusiastic about their positive experiences, citing new friendships, change of lifestyle and pace, or various activities available - hockey, skiing, snowmobiling, etc. - as the basis for their opinions," he said.
"I also found a number of them were not happy with their current situation."
Cassidy said he did not discuss specific experiences with the unhappy people, so he believes a committee would be useful to come up with a strategy to welcome newcomers, and conduct a survey to see where Hay River meets or exceeds expectations and where the town falls short.
"There are a number of different sectors that typically operate with a very fluid roster of professionals that are vital to the safety, health and support of our community," he said, listing teachers, healthcare professionals and RCMP members.
Cassidy, who said he would be willing to chair a committee, found support for his proposal from other councillors.
"I think this is a great idea," said Coun. Ken Latour, who said the way people are welcomed to a community makes a huge difference.
Coun. Dawna O'Brien also supported the concept, saying she knows of a young couple with two children who recently left Hay River after living there for just four months.
O'Brien said one of the issues with the young couple was they were not made aware of everything the town has to offer.
Such as the Treehouse Drop-in Centres' preschool programs that provides a place for parents and children to engage in activities such as arts and crafts.
Council agreed to further discuss the idea of a committee at its next meeting.