All Season Road: Socio-Economic Impact Assessment
The Mushkegowuk Council commissioned a Feasibility Study to build on previous studies regarding transportation and access needs in the West Coast James Bay Region. A coastal route was agreed upon by the Mushkegowuk community members, however no consensus had been reached regarding the short listed four inland route options. In order to address the socio-economic and community well-being aspects of the Study, an issue scoping process was required to identify community well-being indicators and to support the design of a future socio-economic baseline study and impact assessment.
Our consultants designed a preliminary socio-economic issues scoping study and coordinated focus groups to take place in each of the five Western James Bay coastal communities. Community members from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and experience were selected to provide input and diverse perspectives regarding their community’s social, economic, cultural and environmental values. Through facilitated discussion and question posing, focus group participants identified community well-being indicators that reflected community priorities, interests and needs.
The process and success of conducting the community focus groups involved working closely with the Mushkegowuk Council’s department of technical services and land use planning as well as community coordinators. The workshop style focus group series generated information that will inform the design of the feasability study’s next phase of socio-economic baseline study and future impact assessment of the all season road’s preferred route alternative.
The focus group study created an opportunity for community members to discuss, amongst themselves, the things that concerned and/or interested them the most about a potential all season road into the region and through their community. Documenting the discussions and presenting the data findings in the study report provided a means for the Mushkegowuk Council to understand and consider the socio-economic and community well-being aspects of the feasability study. Understanding the social, economic and cultural values of each community will inform and guide decision-making around the region’s proposed all season road through the next phases of the impact assessment and management planning.
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