As part of its work to investigate the scope and feasibility of establishing a Community Development Trust for Lismore, the working group arranged a community consultation event which was held in Lismore Public Hall on 26 January 2008.
The event comprised two sessions; one in the afternoon and one in the evening, to give everyone on the island the greatest chance of attending. Between 30 and 40 people attended each of the sessions.
The objective of the event was to provide an opportunity for residents to share their ideas, hopes and fears about the future of the island with their fellow islanders. A measure of the level of interest generated by the event would be valuable to the working group as an indication of the range of actions which might most appropriately be delivered by a community development trust.
In their introduction to the event Mary Walker and Mandie Currie explained that the exercise being undertaken that day was merely a taster of a much more detailed community consultation process which would need to be undertaken to enable preparation of a development plan for the island, should a decision be taken that an island trust would be formed.
The introduction also reiterated that the working group expected to report the results of its investigations to a public meeting to be held on the island within the following few weeks. After that public meeting the working group would arrange a ballot of all eligible residents for a democratic decision to be taken on whether or not a trust should be established.
Participants at the event were invited to respond to a number of questions posed on a series of poster-sized sheets lining the walls of the Public Hall. People wrote their answers and ideas on self-adhesive “Post-its” and attached them to the appropriate wall sheets. At a later stage all those involved were invited to review everyone’s “Post-it” contributions and indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the sentiments expressed, by placing self-adhesive dots in appropriate columns alongside each written response.
Each session concluded with a cup of tea and a round-up discussion on the ideas put forward and whether a development trust might be the best way to realise some of the actions suggested.
The accompanying sheets show the output on the eleven wall sheets displayed at each session of the event. Also to be found are photographs of a map of Lismore which was used at each session for participants to indicate their location-specific ideas for the island’s future.