Are we inclusive?


By Vern May

Minnedosa & Area Community Development Corporation

There’s something very comfortable in “the way it’s always been done” isn’t there?  Being born and raised in a prairie town, we come to know that Joe always looks after this, that’s Bob’s project over there and there’s a number of standing committees and clubs that each hold ownership of their own specific projects, all in the greater good of the community.

There’s no need to advertise, right? After all, these are long-standing community traditions and “everybody knows.” At most, maybe a flyer gets posted in the local coffee shop or at the post office and that reminder should catch everyone. Yes, we’ve put the word out there.

But what about those people who are new to our community? Those young families that have been enticed to enjoy the rural lifestyle by attractive home prices, sizable pieces of land and lower taxes than Brandon. What about those people who have moved in, but are working outside the community? Are we being inclusive?

In rural communities economic development includes a marketing element to increase the tax base by encouraging local investment into homes and businesses. Traditionally, that’s the end of the transaction. We’ve made the sale, we’re collecting taxes on more square footage of our territory than we were last month and we’re happy about that. In reality, this needs to be the start of the relationship.  We need to do our best to get to know our new neighbours and find out their interests. Maybe they would be a great fit for participation in our clubs, activities and traditions. Their satisfaction with the community is linked not only to their financial investment, but also their emotional one.

I hear from time to time the frustration expressed by community leaders that they don’t see the engagement of newcomers that they would prefer. Maybe these folks would be a great addition to the team. Maybe their professional and personal skills would help to strengthen the skill set of that given group, but we’ve got to let them know the opportunity exists. We’ve got to invite them.

They can’t come out if they don’t know about it, and they probably won’t come out if they are not invited to attend and check out what’s happening. Nobody wants to turn up at an outing where they may not be welcome – especially when they don’t know anyone.

What have you done to help welcome your new neighbours to the community this year? Maybe it’s time to drop by and ring the door bell.It starts with a conversation – maybe even over a cup of coffee. But we need to talk. Let’s continue the conversation by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 204-867-3885. The best things around that I have ever seen, came from small towns and big dreams.