Organizers of the Georgetown Conference, held in eastern P.E.I. over the weekend, say the success of the event will be felt in rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada.
The conference wrapped up on the weekend and drew more than 250 delegates to PEI to talk about issues around rural development. Newspaper publisher and conference organizer Paul MacNeill said the level of engagement both leading up to and during the conference has shown that residents of rural communities are ready to do what they can to help their communities thrive.
"Frankly, it's overwhelming," said MacNeill.
"It was really fascinating to see delegates huddle into groups based on where they're from. So you had regional meetings occurring, talking about 'OK, what are we gonna do when we get back to the south shore of Nova Scotia, or the Bonavista Peninsula in Newfoundland or Inverness County in Cape Breton?'"
MacNeill said that continuation of effort is crucial to the success of the conference.
"We've given them the overarching idea and now they can take it back and start to implement some of the ideas they heard or thought of," he said.
"That's what we had always hoped would happen and we're seeing signs that that is exactly what will happen."
The plan is to have at least one more conference, according to MacNeill, although no location has been set and he says it probably won't take place next year.