November 5th 2012
Draft community plan out for comment
Back again on Magnetic after his last visit in July, when he met with Magnetic Islanders to update the community plan he first worked with Islanders to develop back in 2001, Mr Peter Kenyon presented what he was first to admit, was, “A first rough draft” for the Magnetic Island Community Action Plan 2013 - 2020.
Peter spoke at a special dinner hosted by Magnetic Island Community Development Association at the Picnic Bay Hotel Conference Room. About 50 locals attended to hear Peter Kenyon, followed by Paronella Park founders and tourism marketing gurus, Mark and Judy Evans.
Peter Kenyon is very much a pro in the niche, hybrid, field of community invigoration he has developed over many years. It’s a role that seems not unlike that of a community therapist: someone a community can talk to about its problems and aspirations. Without a community couch for his mass consultations Kenyon has a simple word he pivots his work around, it is ‘conversations’.
As a conversationalist, he knows how to get people talking. Back in July he notched up group conversations involving over 260 participants with a mere 223, ‘My big idea for my community’ postcards filled out.
The same buzz was clearly evident on Saturday night where whole tables were erupting into enthusiastic banter. It wasn’t tired, corporate-speak, “networking” either. The spark was palpable and, fired up by the runaway success story Mark Evans from Paronalla Park shared later with the assembled, one could see and hear all sorts of ideas in the hatching around the room.
Peter Kenyon carries a handy arsenal of pithy quotes, such as Margaret Wheatley’s ‘There’s no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about” There was plenty of caring for discovery on Saturday.
Without going into detail of what Peter Kenyon’s “first rough plan” includes - you can read it (here) - his concept of conversations; communication between individuals and groups that are open, free forming, spontaneous, creative, fun and, even if not ever leading to a specific achievement, all the better for the having, draws from people the kinds of things they might never think to put into words otherwise.
On Saturday Peter Kenyon whizzed through the draft plan before the main course was served and invited comments. There were some good ones too.
Long time local resident, Jan Pranskunas, spoke passionately of the need to gather a group to initiate more for young people on Magnetic. This echoed the plan’s ‘Recommended Action 3: Development of Youth Engagement programs which followed a group conversation Peter and his daughter Alexandria had with young Islanders in July. Their ideas included: a Friday night youth club, an Island youth council,support for the Navy cadets, a water park, mentoring programs and support for young people to undertake Island relevant trades and professions.
Jo Asquith from James Cook Uni and an Island resident now of 18 months, is keen to see international students spend a night on beautiful - but real world and authentic - Magnetic which she believes they would likely return to over and again.
Leon Van Wyk made mention of one of the invisible-on-the-night, elephants in the room: the likelihood of impending economic collapse and the need to reorientate investment away from the big end of town to local financing systems.
These were just some of the community themes riffed at this energetic gathering and while the ‘rough draft’ has some obvious inaccuracies: there is a doctor and surgery available after hours and on weekends whenever necessary, on call at the MI Clinic, for example, the document is a rich source for discussion and development and Peter and his Bank of Ideas (click here - it’s amazing) are keen for Islanders to review the draft and provide as much feedback as possible before January 1 2013. You can do that (here) or by making a comment below.
Peter Kenyon was not, hard to believe it the main course on the night’s speaking menu. That was to be Mark Evans from Paronella Park and his fascinating words will be the subject of a story coming soon at Magnetic Times.
For some snaps of the night we suggest you check out Magnetic Times' facebook page (here).
Story and photo: George Hirst