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July 13, 2014: Over two years ago a group of residents started a conversation on Malcolm Island to gauge the interest in community and economic development. The motivation for these meetings came from concerns about decreasing population on Malcolm Island and the ongoing loss of valuable infrastructure and businesses. Two years have passed since the first meeting on April 5th 2012. Since then a total of five community meetings have been organized by a facilitation committee, with no funding.  These meetings have been well attended (20-50 individuals at each session) and progress has been made towards becoming (or facilitating the creation of) a functional non-profit organization dedicated to economic development.

The community meeting on February 17, 2013, resulted in adoption of the following:

  • Name: “Malcolm Island Grassroots Development Forum” with the goal of becoming a Society in the future
  • Mission Statement:  “Build connections between organizations and individuals to foster and support community and economic development on Malcolm Island

It is a belief of this group that engaging two-way support with other groups will improve community cooperation while advancing community and economic progress together.

Goals

  • Build on community pride
  • Promote ways to retain and attract families
  • Improve employment opportunities
  • Support local businesses and promote business development

Annual Seven Step Model:

  • Create a coordinating committee
  • Build on community successes
  • Study other communities
  • Self-evaluation of Malcolm Island (SWOT analysis)
  • Decision-making based on objective information
  • Start popular projects
  • Maintain the momentum

The Grassroots Development Forum Steering Committee is actively working to explore ideas including improved decision making, funding proposals, project management skills and research.  This would set the stage for the potential to facilitate projects in the near and medium term future.

Many community development ideas/projects have been identified by community members and the following are just a few from the most recent meeting, for example:

  • Promoting Sointula/Malcolm Island (tourism, great place to live, workforce, website, etc.)
  • Promoting Sointula as a commercial fishing hub (boat harbour, live here, work here, etc. put forward by the Malcolm Island Lions)
  • Building connections between other groups/organizations on Malcolm Island
  • Alternative energy options such as wind power for community water during power outages
  • Beautifying Sointula to attract tourists and new residents
  • Public sauna in the Finnish tradition
  • Building shanty boats to live aboard
  • SWOT analysis to base objective decision-making