P.E.I. farmers to contribute on province’s rural plan

Prince Edward Island’s provincial government plans to invite a number of ag sector stakeholders to a workshop aimed at helping draft the province’s Rural Development Strategy.

The province on Thursday wrapped up a round of public consultations on rural issues in Mill River, Montague, Crapaud and Wellington, seeing total attendance of over 200 people, with over 40 presentations from community groups, businesspeople and community activists.

The next step in the consultation process will begin “immediately,” the province said, and will include a series of workshops on the topics of agriculture and forestry; entrepreneurship and business development; tourism; energy; fisheries and aquaculture; and the environment.

“A broad cross-section of leaders from within each sector will be invited to topic-specific sessions to share experiences, review input from the earlier consultations, examine draft strategies and help forge integrated strategies for their sectors,” the province said Thursday.

So far, “the response of Islanders to the consultation process — beginning with the Renewing Rural P.E.I. Conference in April, the online survey and the public consultations — has been tremendous,” Rural Development Minister Neil LeClair, a former provincial ag minister, said in a release Thursday.

The online survey asking for input on the priorities of Islanders for rural development can still be filled out on the province’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Rural Development website. Over 400 Islanders have completed the survey so far, the province said.

A draft Rural Development Strategy is expected to be made public for input early this fall, the province said. The final Strategy document is to be presented during the fall sitting of the provincial legislature.

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