Abbotsford – “In the year 2525, if man is still alive, If woman can survive, they may find..” – Zager and Evans
Back in 1969, when the song 2525 was released, no one had any idea that we would be talking about the issues we have today. 2525 is a ways away BUT 2025 is not!
On November 22, more than 100 community leaders from across the Fraser Valley converged at Airside Event Spaces (30462 Liberator Avenue) in Abbotsford for a ground-breaking day of “rolling up their sleeves” to develop a roadmap intended to transform the region into a Vibrant Community, specifically one that thrives through connection.
Vibrant Communities is rooted in a commitment to bring community leaders together from all walks of life to think about what is possible for the Canadian communities from coast to coast in which Grant Thornton colleagues work and live. As it executes on that initiative, the firm will act as a convener, connector, and catalyst, bringing with it a steadfast belief that now is the time that we can and should be making a difference in our communities.
This commitment began in July 2018 when the first Live Lab was launched in PEI where information and feedback was gathered from over 150 diverse community leaders via roundtables, explored questions focused on the community’s sustainability and prosperity, all with the goal of inspiring action.
What they discussed:
Fraser Valley Has All the Ingredients Required to Become a Vibrant Community
There’s no question that the Fraser Valley has all the ingredients required to create a vibrant community. Investment figures and new construction projects show that the Fraser Valley is on track to becoming the Lower Mainland’s leading industrial hub. It is one of the most intensely farmed areas in Canada, home to many diverse cultures and has pioneered a revolutionary private care facility for people with dementia called The Village.
However, homelessness is an increasing concern, transit infrastructure in the region is both sorely lacking and a serious challenge, and the region’s youth are leaving. For these and many other reasons, now is the time to develop a roadmap to help the Fraser Valley thrive.
Developing a Roadmap for the Fraser Valley to Drive Impactful and Lasting Change
The goal of that day’s Live Lab was to unite as many passionate, proud and engaged community leaders as possible to understand what makes the Fraser Valley so special and to understand the long-standing role its community members and businesses have played in driving meaningful and lasting change over the years. Once they do, community members are encouraged to take home their learnings to embed into their own regions to help them thrive.
In preparation for this Live Lab, over the last few months Grant Thornton’s people engaged with a diverse group of not-for-profit, public sector and business leaders to understand what would make the county even better. The goal was to find opportunities for growth, engage with communities and learn how they are taking risks to create an inspiring and sustainable place to live, work and play. They met with over 100 influencers from the Fraser Valley to discuss important topics such as people-focused solutions for Homelessness, Diversity and Inclusion, Infrastructure, Supporting Local Businesses, Youth Engagement, and Immigration. Many of these community leaders participated in the Abbotsford Live Lab.