OXFORD – Ruthie Patriquin couldn’t be more optimistic of the future of her community.
Oxford’s community economic development officer hosted a public meeting on Nov. 14 to share the results of a survey she said will help shape Oxford’s future.
“I couldn’t be happier with the results, it was so positive,” Patriquin said. “People love living in Oxford, you can see it in the suggestions they made.”
After releasing the survey’s results, those in attendance broke into smaller groups to discuss which suggestions are doable right away and which ones will need a bit more work. She said the enthusiasm coming out of the groups and from the meeting is tremendous.
Patriquin will be gathering the information from the meeting and combining it with the survey results to present a detailed report to the community later this fall. She said a number of the suggestions are very achievable and suggest people love the community they live in.
She is hoping some organizations or individuals will come forward to champion some of the ideas, and while she’s disappointed there wasn’t a lot of input from business or from the community’s various organizations there is still time for them to participate in the online survey and to take a lead role in some of the initiatives the survey identified.
Patriquin will continue to collect public input at a series of coffee drop-ins at town hall in the coming weeks.
“To me this is an ongoing process,” she said.
There were 71 responses to the survey that was posted on the town’s website and distributed through the water bills. She said that’s a tremendous response for a small community such as Oxford.
Some of the suggestions included more promotion of Oxford as the blueberry capital of Canada with more signage and more blueberry products in stores.
People identified a desire for more opportunities for physical activity including dancing, chair exercise, adult skating, an indoor walking track and a gym.
Also suggested were more festivals and events such as classic car shows, poetry and music festivals, seniors classes such as those offered by the Tantramar Seniors College, nutrition and cooking classes and more family programs.
One things survey participants identified for improvement is communication from the town to its residents as well as community events. One suggestion is to erect an electronic sign somewhere in the community – although the question was raised about who would pay for it and whose responsibility it would be to keep it updated.
Patriquin said the town is working to improve its communication via its website and a newsletter that’s been expanded into areas outside the town such as Collingwood.