Unity is strength. This step proposes to activate a cooperative and open dialogue within the community. How does the "local pulse" feel? What’s great about or in the village? What could be changed or strengthened through a planning project? The discussions should bring forward local priorities and a preliminary set of planning principles, two keystones for the rest of the process.
A diversity of actors comes to the table with a vast number of priorities and interests. While these might drastically diverge, some share common grounds. The latter should be given special consideration, since they can eventually become keystones that will hold participants together for the duration of the project.
Yet, that does not mean that diverging thoughts should be pushed aside without further examination. They can represent potential sources of conflict among stakeholders and will eventually have to be addressed. Reaching a consensus through acceptable compromise is a key to successful collaborative processes.
Agree on principles
Bring people together
Planning without people will produce plans that only resemble the planner or consultants. The planning process needs to take into account the views and ideas of many stakeholders if it ever aims to gain social acceptability. Therefore, planners must ask themselves a crucial question : Who will participate in the process?
Consultation takes time. And often, time can be an important limiting factor in planning. Hence, the local actors must be identified and mobilized beforehand to ensure that their voices will be heard in the process. Of all the stakeholders, residents should be given as many opportunities to speak and contribute as possible, as they remain the heart and soul of the Northern Villages. After all, they are the project’s ambassadors before local organizations and official instances.
Look for shared priorities
The shared priorities and approved-by-all compromises are the roots from where the planning principles will grow. These principles are what will guide the entirety of the process and continuing collaborations.
The research team identified 11 planning principles based on the specific territory of Kangiqsualujjuaq, accessible . These principles are robust enough to be applied in the context of other communities in Nunavik, even though they are neither universal nor perfect. The priorities of residents from another community may put forward some new elements that would guide the planning process otherwise. In that case, the 11 principles can be rearranged or reformulated, and new ones can be added. What matters is that they come from the stakeholders’ perceptions and aspirations, and that they are used to mold the planning process and outcomes to fit with the community’s vision.