This is just a heads up to inform my readers that the 'Let Your Voice Be Heard' Public Survey sponsored by the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario via their project titled the 'Rural Voices Network' is now available online. The survey is the culmination of a one year project which included a series of forums to identify what questions to ask and what issues were important to rural citizens. Having just completed the survey I can say that it looks like they are asking all the right questions, the question then becomes what will become of the report to be issued in late June.
I originality became involved in this project in that part of the outcome desired was to establish a “Web portal designed to foster a living ‘Rural Voices Network’ to “facilitate community engagement and collaboration through online forums.”. As far as I know at this point in time this development of a major online forum is dependent upon both the result of the survey and receiving funding for the project to extend beyond the first year. This is something that is being pursued but has not yet, as far as I know, materialized. Whilst the results of the survey and the ensuing report will no doubt be very interesting, unless it leads to some PRACTICAL ways of enhancing rural communications and collaboration it is in danger of becoming just another report gathering dust on the shelf, and there is quite a pile of those there already!
One of the best of those is the Senate report Beyond Freefall: Halting Rural Poverty. Here is a summary of parts of the report:-
Full report (2.4 Mb PDF)
Of particular interest in these discussions may be their recommendation to have more government services available from rural post offices (how about some of those Service Canada 'services') and their commentary on the need (indeed necessity) for rural residents to own and operate a vehicle.
Here are some posts regarding the governments dismal response, with links:-
Also of interest may be the National Symposium on How to Build a Sustainable Rural Canada entitled One Vision, Many Voices held in Edmonton, Alberta in July of 2008
My synopsis and comments
The report can be found here (36 pages - 3.9Mb PDF)
The net result of these reports and meetings of which I have only mentioned a small proportion has been basically ZERO! So whilst I encourage my fellow rural residents to fill in the survey (which can be found here) , I also encourage those who may wish to sponsor a comprehensive online forum or those who may have particular expertise in that area to contact The Rural Voices Network and offer funds or support in this regard. In these days of government austerity we may not get much help from that direction, but with a comprehensive on line forum at least we could coordinate our response to changes, share ideas for community development and perhaps save a village or two from disappearing into obscurity. You may comment upon the RVN project or add to the discussions at the online forum which may be viewed here, you will need to register however to post to the forum.
(a note for dial up users, have patience the survey site is a little slow to respond and comprised of about 6 pages totaling about 1.5mb – but prizes can be won upon completion!)