Charlottetown's young adults rank their to-do list for the city this year

Would you like to see a piano in Charlottetown's Victoria Park? What about an outdoor oven? Improved cycling infrastructure? They're all ideas generated by members of Fusion Charlottetown, and open to a public vote on the group's Facebook page. 

Fusion Charlottetown is a non-profit group aimed at 20- to 40-year-olds living or working in downtown Charlottetown who want to improve the city's health and wellness, sustainability, urban development, arts and culture and entrepreneurship.

"They're all fantastic," said Fusion chair Vanessa Smith of the ideas, generated at a February brainstorming session. "We're really excited." 

About 40 Fusion members gathered Wednesday night at a Charlottetown pub to go over the top seven ideas, listed below. 

7 Ideas for Charlottetown 2017

- 3 things for Charlottetown: campaign to spread goodwill.

- Enhancing cycling in Charlottetown: improved bike lanes, repair station, new bike racks.

- Fusion Talks speaker series: short, powerful talks to inspire and challenge.

- Urban park program: Park piano, cobb oven and more programming in parks.

- Big Thinkers happy hours: free monthly meet-ups at rotating venues.

- Live local, love local: develop fun initiatives to support local products and businesses.

- Urban beautification: more forms of public art including a living wall, chalk on Victoria Row, more benches and flowers. 

Charlottetown residents have been given until Saturday evening to rank the ideas — Smith said the group will then tabulate the results and form committees to put the top ideas into action. 

You can see how people have voted so far here — at publication time, improving parks and cycling had the most votes.

"We hope to see out of the seven what are the top priorities our demographic is really looking for Fusion to start the ball rolling on," said Smith, adding the lower-ranked ideas will be worked on later.

Fusion will release the results on its Facebook page early next week, and invite young city dwellers to join action committees.

'A huge impact'

"I think the park program is the one I'm most excited about," said Smith when asked about her own preferences. 

She also likes the three things for Charlottetown idea based on forward-thinking Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's 3 Things for Canada — which asks people to do one positive thing for their neighbourhood, their nation, and the world this year.

"That one is something that is really, really simple to get off the ground, but I think would have a huge impact," she said.

'Improving our lives'

Making Charlottetown a better place to work and live should not only create a more enjoyable environment for students and young professionals, Smith said — Fusion also hopes it makes the city more attractive to new and returning residents and businesses. 

"We've all seen a lot of our friends and family who have left the province because they couldn't find a job," Smith said. "We want those people to come back because we know that we need to have a healthy, active population to continue to grow." 

"It's just really about getting those people back and also improving our lives so we can stay here as long as we want." 

Making the city better

In the past year and a half, Fusion has launched a Winterlove campaign including "snoga" — yoga in the snow — a disco skate, and nighttime astronomy/photography workshop called Dark in the Park. 

One of the more visible projects it has been developing will be unveiled in the next few weeks, Smith revealed: a free solar cellphone charging station, created by some Fusion members who are engineers. 

"We're probably a couple weeks away from releasing it and putting it somewhere in downtown Charlottetown for the public to use," Smith said. "You're going to be able to charge your phone, hopefully in Victoria Park as you throw a frisbee around and get an ice cream." 

The group hasn't been working with city officials yet, Smith said, but will likely be approaching them as it works to bring ideas to fruition.

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