MULGRAVE: The committee looking to repurpose the former Mulgrave Memorial Education Centre hosted a series of meetings last week to look at their potential options.

Basil Ryan, the director of the Mulgrave and Area Revitalization Committee told The Reporter that the main focus of the meetings were to gain public feedback about the former school and the medical centre.

“It was kind of a two-track event going on; one was to look at the former Mulgrave Education Centre and the potential of repurposing that facility,” he said. “The second was around enhancing services at the Mulgrave and Area Medical Centre.”

The questions asked included potential uses for the former school, along with potential programs at the medical centre.

The public engagement and the consultation process in the community started a couple of weeks ago when the committee invited members from Margaree, Havre Boucher, St. Joseph’s, and Heatherton who had similar experiences around school divestitures, to start the conversation in Mulgrave.

“We invited them to meet with us to discuss what they experienced during the time their school closed,” Ryan advised. “And any challenges they faced or opportunities they took advantage of along the way.”

The events have been very positive and people are encouraged by the discussions that have taken place to date, especially during the targeted engagements that took place last Wednesday.

Ryan explained from the committee’s perspective, they thought it would be beneficial to host targeted communications from the public.

“Some people are intimidated in larger audiences and it’s much easier to draw out conversation when youth are with their peers, as opposed to being with a bunch of adults,” he said. “The same thing could be said for seniors. By providing a forum just for them, to talk about what they see, what their thoughts are, we think is a better approach than having a much larger group meeting and trying to understand what people’s thoughts and opinions are.”

Ryan said community members see there is real value in retaining the school property and enhancing the services at the medical centre and they received a very diverse set of options.

“There were a lot of good ideas, everything from a convenience store, to self-storage, seniors housing, immigrant housing, a training facility, and all kind of things pertaining to the medical clinic,” he said. “Questions were also raised as to why not have a nurse practitioner, why not enhance the service around the diabetic clinic, and why not enhance services around mental health?”

The next stage of the process, Ryan said, is to take all the information received and consolidate it into another survey for the general public to prioritize ideas.

The findings of the consultation will be presented and discussed at a community meeting in June.