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Summer project wraps up until September

groupphoto [1]

BELLEVILLE – (from left to right) Bevan Hamilton, Suzanne Coolen, and Greg Murphy worked this summer on the Municipal Election Project. They will be back in the fall with their classmates to start the second part of the project. Photo by Samantha Hein.

By Greg Murphy [2]

BELLEVILLE – The QNetNews summer Municipal Election Project [3] has come to a close – the first part of it anyway.

Over the past eight weeks, QNetNews reporters, Suzanne Coolen [4], Bevan Hamilton [5], and I have been out in the community to ask as many people as we could to talk about the issues that matter to them.

We’ve learned about a swathe of issues that exist in Belleville that people want to see discussed in the October 27th election. Some of the biggest issues Bellevillians care about are: where are future jobs going to come from; how do we positively engage young people; how do we address the poverty in our community; what do we do about outdated infrastructure across the city; how do we revitalize  downtown; support the arts community; get more tourist to come and stay in the city, and so on, and so forth. The list goes on.

In the next phase of our project, we won’t be focusing on asking Bellevillians about the issues they care about. What we’ve done is compile a list of questions we will give to candidates in the fall when school is back in session.

When the election comes to a head in October, we will have hopefully heard back from the candidates and their answers to our questionnaire. The idea is to provide the citizens of Belleville with the information they need to make a more informed decision when it comes time to cast their ballot.

Kathleen Bazkur, the acting dean of media studies here at the college, said the project has been a great attempt by students to start a conversation in the community about the municipal election.

“I think ‘Your Voice, Your Vote’ has been meaningful not only for students to achieve the outcomes of great reporting but it also I think sets the groundwork for the need for information for people to participate in the municipal election process,” she said. “I was looking at the site this morning. My goodness, the students have done a tremendous amount of reporting, and it’s just wonderful to see the momentum that is moving towards the municipal election.”

Nominations for running for municipal office close Friday September 12th. The questionnaire to candidates will go out the week after.

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