In your opinion, what are the greatest challenges facing wolfville? What are its greatest opportunities?
A) Environmental sustainability in the face of our climate crisis is the defining challenge of our time. We have less than eight years left to make meaningful change to avoid the worst effects. I chair Wolfville’s new Environmental Sustainability Committee, which provides advice and recommendations to council. We have declared a climate emergency. Council was adamant that we must act on it.
B) Accessibility is a challenge as 30 % of Nova Scotians have a visible or not quite as easily identified disability. Accessible design in our buildings and our communications is paramount. Our transit systems are already fully accessible. We should make them more responsive to those who depend on them for accessible or affordable concerns by choosing to fund them to increase the service.
C) Affordability is a crisis in Wolfville. 29% of people 18 and under (In other words, children) are struggling to live below the poverty line. We have a good supply of larger single family homes and apartments. We need to build out our missing middle - smaller affordable homes for families and young people. And we need to insist on affordable components in new developments.
We are a progressive town. We can build on that. We understand that the climate crisis, accessibility, and affordability requires us all to pitch in.
Wolfville is losing retail businesses. Back in the day there were two dress shops, two variety stores, a dairy, two apple exporters and a dry goods and furniture store where one could shop locally. At the same time the town is a growing mecca for wine and fine food. I think the Wolfville Farmers Market store is a positive development for eating local.
The greatest challenge facing Wolfville, like other communities,is continued growth as we have all been affected mentally, physically and financially by covid-19. Tourism and business have both been limited as restrictions were imposed. Our greatest opportunities are our people and the relationships we continue to make. Wolfville being so ethnically diverse allows for exponential growth.
Challenge: Many of the activities and services that significantly contribute to Wolfville’s unique character, especially those run by: service clubs, charities, food bank, fire department, theatre groups, music festivals, art and film associations, and culinary events, rely heavily on volunteers. One of our challenges will soon be the fact that many of our dedicated volunteers are getting older and pulling back on their time, while fewer younger people are engaging in this way. I would propose a “volunteer bank”, where the experience of outgoing volunteers can be transferred to those interested, possibly in a peer mentor model.
Opportunity: Develop a recruitment strategy in the science and technology sectors, in partnership with Acadia University, NSCC and other local science and technology stakeholders, to attract individuals to our community and expand job opportunities for our youth.
The Town of Wolfville is a community that is diverse in age, marital status, household income and culture. It is a challenge and critical for Town Council to remember these statistics (2016 Census) when making decisions that may impact its vulnerable constituents: the majority of Wolfville’s residents are female; 50 years of age or older; and/or single, separated, divorced or widowed and/or have household incomes below the town’s median income ($53,362). It’s equally important to see these distinct segments as valuable resources that offer many opportunities for the town to grow and prosper together.
Well, I could go right into the parking and paving debate that has plagued the town since conception but instead, I'll throw my focus to other challenges. 2020 has put a huge hit on tourism, the arts and business community, and so much more and I think one of the biggest challenges is rebuilding those "damaged" areas of our town. With businesses reopening, university students returning and our very positive approach to staying safe, I know we can get there and stay focused on a safe Winter and prosperous 2021. With students here, we have the opportunity to get them involved in getting our town back up to its awesome standards, maybe through student driven promotions and events.
The greatest challenges facing Wolfville aren’t unique to us. We’re facing a climate crisis, a global pandemic, and a downturn in an economy that wasn’t working for many people in the first place. Like many places, we’re also facing a shortage of affordable and accessible housing to meet our growing population. Conversely, our greatest opportunities are the things that make us unique. We’re a small and vibrant community. We have a large population of students with differing perspectives from around the world. These characteristics make us resilient to the adaptations we’ll need to make in the coming years.
We are landlocked as a Town – so growth is a challenge. The only way to increase revenue is through more housing or higher taxes. Being landlocked clearly restrains our housing market growth, and without raising taxes, implementing new initiatives is a challenge. Even keeping up with road/sidewalk infrastructure is limited based on the dollars collected.
Our greatest opportunity is our people. We have an amazing community. Our statistics tell us we have very well-educated residents (not surprising with a major learning institution in the heart of our Town) – and putting this knowledge to work to improve our quality of life has incredible possibilities.
As tongue-in-cheek as it may sound, I see challenges and opportunities being the same thing. Our biggest opportunity in Wolfville is that we are growing and prospering quickly and that can be challenging to accommodate. Within this growth and prosperity, there are and will be all kinds of specific challenges and opportunities from building developments, traffic flow, parking, large – both sanctioned and unsanctioned - social gatherings, parking, roads, etc. and all of this needs to be addressed with the added layer of being in a pandemic.
Nicholas Ken Jin Tan
Today, the greatest direct challenge facing Wolfville is the impact of Covid-19 and its complications. The greatest opportunity Wolfville has is the chance at a vibrant life in small town, Nova Scotia.