A “Made-on Gabe” public engagement process
Gabriola Talks was conceived as a series of conversations between fellow islanders about complex issues that affect the community. Members of Sustainable Gabriola hosted the first meeting in May 2019 to ask participants to envision what effective cross-community dialogue could look like, and to help identify topics for future discussion. The workshop was designed to draw out ideas of what does – and does not – work in community discussions, and to set some grounding principles for future discussions.
Our community discussion in September was on The Climate Crisis.
At the May 30th workshop, the Gabriola Talks Working Group (GTWG) heard from community members that we need to create a safe space where islanders with differing points of view can talk respectfully about complex issues. We heard that how we set up the conversation is important, including ensuring the issue is framed in a way that is acceptable to all parties. Another key element identified was the nearly universal agreement that strong facilitators and ground rules would help create a safe atmosphere for honest, productive discussion.
As a result of the ideas and contributions from approximately 25 community members at that initial meeting, GTWG drafted the Gabriola Community Charter for Dialogue (pdf), which lays out some of the core principles, vision and key community values identified. We hope it will be a useful tool to help set the tone for respectful, engaged, thoughtful and productive discussions. The Charter is not meant to be the “end-all and be-all” model for every discussion but is crafted as a foundational framework that may be added to and adapted as we work in this evolving discussion process and grapple with emerging issues.