When Alison Spooner—a Grade 10 student at Desert Sands Community School in Ashcroft—heard that consultants wanted to talk with students about the Village’s Official Community Plan (OCP), she knew she wanted to be involved.
“Principal Colleen Minnabarriet came to our class, and asked if anyone wanted to come to a community meeting about it,” she says. “Colleen said it was involved with local government, and I’m interested in stuff like that. I was curious about what was going on, and thought it was something good to learn about.”
Consultants from Urban Systems went to the school last week to meet with staff and students. “They [the consultants] said that the population of Ashcroft is shrinking, and they wanted to hear about ways to help increase the population. What did the kids think?”
Spooner says she’s interested in serving on the public committee that will be looking at Ashcroft’s Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw, and which is looking to recruit members from a variety of age ranges. While she lives in Loon Lake, she attends school in Ashcroft; and as she is active in school sports and the Sea Cadets, she spends a good deal of time living with relatives in the community, so she can pursue her extracurricular activities.
“I was surprised by how many different things were involved [in the OCP],” says Spooner. “There were lots of things I didn’t expect. There were things like ‘What would bring you back to Ashcroft?’ We talked about boosting the sense of community. People like the safety here, and they want their kids to grow up here. We need to promote what we already have, and improve on it.”
Spooner says that something she and others discussed with the consultants was the need for more summer camps in Ashcroft, with older children working with younger ones. “It’s a good job for kids; they have lots of responsibility.” She also brought up the need for more communication between youth and seniors.
“There’s a lot of distance between [these groups]. We need to close the gap. It might help build a better sense of community.”
Spooner attended the community open house on November 30 that examined feedback received about the Village of Ashcroft’s future. “I was surprised at how much there was [in the way of suggestions]; things like the rainbow crosswalks [to signify support for the LGBTQ community] and the off-leash dog park.
“It’s kind of cool. I got to see that there are so many people who want to help Ashcroft. I’d like to be a part of that.”