Just over a month ago, it was standing room only at the All-Candidates Forum in Morden leading up to the December 20th By-Election. 

Mayor Nancy Penner was pleased with the continued interest in municipal politics at Tuesday night's Community Consultation evening to collect community voice for the new strategic plan.  

"We had a full house, we were pulling out extra chairs to fit everybody in, so we were extremely pleased with the involvement with the community." 

She described the crowd.  

"Very engaged. It was exciting to see. They had an opportunity to ask questions. They had an opportunity to write comments and put them on sticky notes as we went through some key areas and their voices were heard. We had some back-and-forth dialogue, which was really good." 

While wastewater management and the potable water supply are still and will remain top priorities for the City of Morden, Penner assured residents, there is room for more to be focused on.  

She said the question was asked if these two issues skew the rest of the issues Morden is facing. 

"When we look at some of the areas like childcare or housing availability or employment opportunities and labour improving recreation, did they kind of overwhelm the issues? I think those are sort of given issues that we know as a city we have to deal with." adding, "The other issues that are important to the community, they were addressed and I think we all realized that we all have different focuses, whether it be childcare or, depending on where you are in your stage of life, is healthcare more important or is recreation important?  We had good dialogue there." 

She said there were some very bold ideas like could Morden become totally "green" in 20 years, ensuring Morden remain focused on immigration and welcoming newcomers was a main topic, as well.  

Penner noted she is grateful Morden wants to stay the course for being a welcoming community. 

"Just one of the final comments that was raised at the end of the meeting, as our population does grow and our demographic changes 20 years down the road, we may see that homelessness may be a part of our community that we will need to deal with and identify and support. So, that may be something that we have to plan for and provide for, that we do have opportunities to support homelessness within our community." 

Some wishes that have been around for a long time came to the forefront as well.  

"Of course, everybody would like to see an Aquatic Center within our community and not just a pool. I think if we did, it would be an Aquatic Center, so maybe we could incorporate recreation. Not everybody is a hockey player we hear, but could we have a curling center and offer gymnastics opportunities and sports medicine attached to it? But that comes with the big-ticket items."  

She said the city will continue to pursue regional conversations on this ongoing conversation, admitting it might be still talked about for the next twenty years. 

Overall, Penner was very pleased with the evening.   

"Just a very positive evening, very respectful of everybody's ideas, and we built on each other's ideas. So, I think it's a very positive evening, very great ideas and going forward. And I think the community has got a lot to look forward to. We have a community to be proud of in that we can build on and move forward with." 

Residents are asked to fill out the survey on the city's website. Data received from all steps in the process will be put together in a report from consulting company KPMG to create the final Strategic Plan to be released next month.