A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Chatsworth Community News Letters

With the long ago demise of local community newspapers and the ensuing difficulty of spreading the news of community events and news I have been pleased to see a couple of quarterly community newsletters spring up. Voices In Print put out by Chatsworth Taxpayers For a Safe and Healthy Environment has been going for a couple of years now and features a variety of views and information from across our township. The most recent edition may be viewed here thanks to Trevor Falks efforts at Shining a Light on Chatsworth blog, for more information contact printvoices@gmail.com .

The second more recent newsletter that I have become aware of is the Desboro Community Newsletter which is focused upon the Desboro area in general and the Community Center and Arena more particularly, they can be contacted at desboronewsletter@gmail.com. I am not aware of any on line copies of this newsletter at this time. The Township of Chatsworth's annual 'newsletter' may be found here.

My thanks go out to these folks who are trying to keep us all in touch with what is going on, keep up the good work! Unfortunately such efforts are largely a one way street with the newsletters informing us of stuff happening but permitting only limited feedback from the rural residents unless they have an opportunity to meet with other of the same mind at some community event. In my view small rural community’s such as ours need more two way communication, brainstorming ideas to keep our businesses and villages thriving and viable, finding ways to provide local employment for our youth and their families.

I have long thought that one such way to enable such an open discussion about such ideas, as well as provide an additional way to promote local events would be an Online Community Forum where anyone can post their events, ideas or concerns and others from the Chatsworth area can respond with offers of help, better ideas and alternative points of view. Despite promoting such a forum here on my blog, through the W.I. Rural Voices initiative a couple of years ago, and more recently with some of the Chatsworth Taxpayers For a Safe and Healthy Environment members I have yet to see any great enthusiasm for such a forum despite my offers to build and initially moderate such an on line communication tool.

In this particular case I have learned through long experience it is NOT a case of 'build it and they will come', in another such place which I moderate that has a membership of over 100 no one seems interested in talking about that organizations problems and future. It is the lack of conversations that is self defeating, successful and active forums are those where members are regularly posting information and ideas and responding to same. Given the above to start such a forum, which I believe would be a great asset to our area, we need half a dozen people or more who can commit to doing just that in order to get those conversations started.

If you are a member of a local club, group or organization with information to share, an individual with views about our local environment, township services, council decisions and the like, or just have a bird or flower sighting and gardening ideas to share then perhaps this idea is for you.

Lets talk about it. Email me via the 'contact' link in the sidebar or use the blog comment utility below.

For those unsure as to exactly what a “forum” looks like or how it works here is a link to one active forum in Ontario this one about Lake Nipissing


Sharon Mohr said...

As its Editor, it was nice to see Voices In Print get mentioned in your blog. Interestingly, our Chatsworth Taxpayers group just recently discussed your online blog idea - and we all seem to think it may be the future of our little newspaper, especially given its ease of two way conversations. I say this because we seem to launch our issues into a bit of a void... only rarely getting any feedback or community input. Although I'm starting to think that it may have some community value, there seems to be a rural reluctance to commit or offer opinions or ...something. It also seems to me that our hardcopy newsletter does well in those locations where a small stack is dropped off... like at the Williamsford Pie Company or Sidekicks. And wonder if switching to online would mean we would lose most of our casual readership. So as we struggle a bit in deciding upon a direction (including how to pay for it), let me thank YOU for your blog and all you do to advance the opinions of a forgotten minority.

Rural said...

Thank you so much for your feedback Sharon. I don't think its an either or choice, your hard copy newsletter will be read by many folks who do not have, or choose to not follow such forums. But as you say it would be a place where you (and other community minded folks) could get feedback. An article from various sources such as your newsletter could be featured on the front page weekly or monthly.
Lets talk more about it!