Sylvan Lake’s Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is nearly ready to launch a new informal feedback program.
Expected to launch this spring and summer, FCSS is working on Spots for Thoughts. This will be an informal space for discussion around what is happening around Sylvan Lake.
In particular the new program hopes to focus around family and children in Sylvan Lake, according to Alissa McDonald, community development coordinator with the Town.
“This program will allow us to find out what is important to the residents of Sylvan Lake in a comfortable, informal way,” McDonald said in a phone interview.
The idea came to McDonald last summer after learning of a similar program in another town.
The “Idea Sofa”, which was presented at a convention McDonald attended last year, was a simple one that could easily adapted for any location.
“I just thought to myself that was something we could do,” said McDonald. “We are always looking for new ways to connect and interact with out community.”
McDonald believes the new “tool in the toolbox” will also help FCSS build its Community Social Master Plan, which was recently presented to Town Council.
In the master plan, specific areas are pinpointed as places of importance. Those topics identified are: housing, income and employment; transportation; health and wellness; as well as community safety and engagement.
“I would like to think Spots for Thoughts will give more feedback on these areas well, and it will tell us if we are focusing on the right things.”
Not only will it help build the master plan, McDonald also says it can be used by each department and program within FCSS to engage with the community.
The set up will be simple and portable, so it can be found at various locations around Sylvan Lake.
It will be noticeable and recognizable, as the spot theme will continue to decor of the designated area.
“We want to be able to catch someone’s attention to get them to come over and talk with us, and then we can engage in a conversation about our community,” said McDonald.
Portability of the program is important, as McDonald hopes to engage residents in regular “bumping point” or areas where the population regularly congregates.
She says the program could be spotted at parks, the NexSource Centre, the Farmer’s Market or at the lakefront.
“We are really excited to be able to engage with locals in a fun and friendly way.”
After the year pilot program, McDonald says it will open up to other departments within the Town. She says a department such as the Parks Department could use the same program to find out what residents would like to see in the local parks.
Spots for Thoughts will be included in the Community Guide and will be seen throughout the community later in the spring and into the summer.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting with people in this really informal way and just talking about our town and community,” said McDonald.