Monday, 21 August 2017

Report from Mayor Ron Higgins

Progress of implementing the ONE SMALL TOWN strategy in Canada.

Implementation Update August 19, 2017
The following is an update on my activity related to developing an implementation plan to implement the one small town concept in North Frontenac, Ontario, Canada.
Since making the personal commitment to assess the requirements related to implementing this concept I have completed the following;
  1. Made the commitment to take the political risk to present the concept to my Council and to our residents.
  2. Made public announcements to that I was undertaking this task.
  3. Began stakeholder evaluations with my Council, residents, electricity generation, food supply, Earthship community and our provincial government.

The following are the results to date of the above actions.
Since making the commitment to take the political risk I have encountered the expected reactions. I have heard from those who think I am totally out of touch with reality, those who are curious and want to learn more and those who applaud me for thinking outside the box and looking at new innovative ways to make our life better here in North Frontenac. Those who think I am out of touch are the usual ones who will disagree with anything I try to do. Fortunately these represent the minority. Since I took the first step on the risk taking adventure I am thrilled at the progress to date and gain more confidence as each day passes.
One of my strategies was to make public announcements about what I intended to do to make our community prosperous again, which I did a month ago. The purpose of this strategy was to ensure I heard all the negative and positive comments about my vision before I write my implementation plan. In this way I can address both perspectives in an effective manner. Instead of having controversy when I announce the plan I can address most controversy in the plan itself. What I did not expect was the amount of support coming in from the outside community and from around the world. I have had to tell some to have patience because they want to move here now to help me get the one small town concept started. The problem is I am getting too many request to do interviews, documentaries or to simply ask me my plans. This takes me away from my research and analysis as well as my day to day Mayor duties. What a great problem to have!
The stakeholder engagement is where I have put my focus over the last few weeks. I have met with an electrical generation company who have the funding and are interested in working with us to provide electricity. I have met with fish and food production companies with the fish production company having the funding and are interested in breaking ground as soon as possible. We have found a potential piece of land for an Earthship community and are entering the negotiation phase very soon. One very important aspect for me personally is to get our provincial government on board to use North Frontenac as a test municipality to show how a community can be self sustainable on its own and not depend on grants to meet our ever increasing costs. Implementing the one small town concept will prove that a community can look after its own needs. Once proven this can be applied to other small rural and northern communities and reduce costs and dependencies on outside government agencies. To that end I just completed four minister delegations and all our open to seeing my implementation plan in October. They are open to the idea of working in collaboration with myself to accomplish this but they need to see a strategic and business plan which I do not see as an issue.
For the electricity generation to setup here I am required, by the provider, to conduct an electricity infrastructure study at a cost of $250K which we do not have. I did find out through the consultations that there may be an organization that will provide 100% funding which I will be following up on.
Next steps:
  1. I have some additional stakeholder items that I need to gather more details on.
  2. Work with the Earthship community to secure the land.
  3. Send out a notice to the Ubuntu community which would outline my plan and identify my high priority areas which are;  a. Health and wellness (doctors and other health & wellness professions) b. Fish and Food production   c. Computer programming (setup a Contributionism tracking system and other tech savvy programs)  d. Other lower priorities;   i. Engineers  ii. Planners  iii. Architects  iv. Lawyers  e. Ask;  i. Would you move here to help setup this community  ii. What is your skill set
  4. Start drafting my implementation plan
Mayor Ron Higgins.