Working Group Expresses Community Urgency


Wednesday, 7 November 2012, a general community meeting was to be held to show the current designs for the MPC and gain input and comments from the community. If the plans were satisfactory, the working team could potentially start obtaining approval signatures from the community. However, this meeting was not held for various reasons, so on Thursday and Friday the WPI team discussed with the working group when this general meeting could potentially be held again, and the working group said that they would try to hold a meeting on Sunday. Thankfully, the working group and community leaders were able to hold this meeting, although from what the working group had to say today about the meeting, it did not go as well as hoped.

Cast of Characters

The WPI team, Langrug working Group.


Wendy house, 12 November 2012


Upon arriving to Langrug Monday morning and settling into the wendy-house, as we usually begin our days, we overheard the working group talking about a general meeting that was held with the community on Sunday afternoon. Everyone from the WPI team was immediately interested in hearing about how everything went during this meeting, because this would allow us to move forward with the MPC project by gaining support by the broader community. Victoria passed around two of the Community Consent Forms that we gave the working group on Friday containing signatures and shack numbers of residents who approve of the current design and plans for the MPC who attended the community meeting. Seeing that signatures were actually collected was definitely a move in the right direction as this was one of the main aspects which Joey stressed must be collected before moving forward. Unfortunately, once we started discussing exactly how the meeting went more in depth, the mood quickly shifted.

Amanda stated that Trevor lead the meeting and had started by explaining to the community exactly what is going on with the project at this point. She indicated that they began by presenting data and drawings of the MPC to the community.  The community did not really care about the designs or any of the details, and they were not very happy with the current situation or the progress of the project. Amanda stated that the community kept asking who is implementing the MPC and when will it be started. They simply want something implemented and on the ground as soon as possible.

While in some respects we were already aware of the fact that the community wants to see the MPC implemented as soon as possible, we were not prepared for what Amanda told us next. Apparently, the community demanded that some actions must be taken by certain dates, or else the working group and community leaders may be at risk. They demanded that materials must be not only ordered but on the ground in Langrug by 20 November (eight days from the day), construction must begin by 7 December, and the entire MPC must be completed by 30 December. Amanda urgently stressed that if these deadlines were not met by these dates, not only may the working group be in danger, but the community also threatened to burn down the wendy-house. While we are unsure exactly how these dates were agreed upon, the bottom line is that the community is expecting an MPC and expecting it fast.


The entire WPI team was shocked to hear about the outcome of the community meeting from the working group. Realising that the community actually specified dates that they want things completed and threatened the entire working group and community leaders is very worrying. Even though the threats may be empty and more of just a way of getting things done, the fact that the community has come to this level is stressful. The WPI group will only be working in Langrug for one more month which is stressful enough because we want to see something implemented very badly, but now hearing the dates from the community adds even more to significance of our time limitation. In a way, the WPI team feels significantly weighed down by these threats, as if it is up to us to prevent these outcomes from happening. At the same time, however, we realise that moving forward with this project is not the sole responsibility of WPI and our team – we need everybody to come together and push forward as much as possible to make progress.

Situations like these imply a sense of entitlement felt by residents of the community. When the community doesn’t get what they want, they feel that making threats is a acceptable way of demanding change. This is a difficult situation to deal with, especially because we want to get the project moving forward and realise the need for what we are pushing for, but at the same time don’t want the community to view their threats and actions as a successful way of getting what they want. It may be this way just with the MPC because it is something that they have worked at receiving for the past two years and simply want it implemented as soon as possible, but this is something which we do not know yet still unacceptable. Even still, looking at the situation from a different perspective on our part may be necessary. Perhaps if this MPC moves forward and is implemented as soon as possible with help by all of the partners, the relationship between all partners could be significantly improved. Getting something built may be the “jump-start” the community needs to realise that they can do something and that the municipality is there to help them.

We hope that these threats are empty because there is a very little chance that these deadlines will be reached. There are so many vital steps that still remain to be accomplished before even ordering materials, especially in terms of funding and finalising designs with input by local building inspectors. These things, especially the latter, can take a significant amount of time, which is something that everyone needs to understand. We are pushing as hard as we can, but some things are out of our control. Hopefully there is some way that we can communicate to the community that progress is being made, and that we want to see the MPC implemented as badly as they do.