KENSINGTON, P.E.I. - A few dedicated residents showed up last week to help the town of Kensington plan for the future.
The meeting, called a “residential visioning session,” was held at the Royal Canadian Legion to discuss a 10-year vision and “identify potential opportunities for sustainability, growth and progress over the next five years.”
Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley made a few remarks to start the evening, then left so residents could speak freely.
Beforehand, over cookies and coffee, he was hesitant to talk about what he’d like to see for the town.
“I’m not assuming that I know what everybody else wants. That’s part of it. Council is interested in hearing what people think is most important,” he said.
Though there were only six people at the meeting, many ideas were generated.
“This is my preferred stop for gas and food,” said Jessica Caseley, who grew up in Kensington and lives just up the road in Hamilton.
A lot of the meeting’s conversation centred on keeping visitors in town longer than it takes to buy gas and an ice cream.
Several residents suggested business development in the heart of the town to encourage foot traffic and shopping. Maps of parks and attractions around could point the way for visitors and locals. On the outskirts, a new industrial park would generate employment and encourage new residents to settle in town.
Jack Spencer has lived in Kensington for more than 40 years, staying even after he retired from his work as a church administrator.
With so many people working in Summerside, he’s noticed, “People buy their scotch tape on their way home” and it’s limiting what shops are able to stay open in the town.
Cheryl McNeill has lived in Kensington for five years. With four school-aged children, she enjoys the safety of the streets and has made friends with parents at her kids’ activities.
She said it was up to her to forge the connections and discussions started about how to reach out to new residents.
Now that she’s settled, McNeill hopes to see the community grow with more families.
“I don’t want to see it become a retirement town,” said McNeill.
The results of the November meetings will be sent to council for a January meeting. The final plan will be ready in the spring.